Elena Patino

Elena Calderón Patiño
Arts and Cultural Sustainability Program/Atrium Gallery Director

Calderón Patiño is responsible for the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program, a collaboration between RISCA, Rhode Island Foundation and Rhode Island Humanities, the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship and Fellowship grants, and the Atrium Gallery at One Capitol Hill.

These three programs are a holistic strategic approach that provide knowledge, professional development opportunities and funding. Expansion Arts Program provides multiyear unrestricted funding and capacity building programs that strengthen culturally specific organizations led by people of color. RISCA’s Folk and Traditional Arts programs provide grants to individual folk artists so they can continue to pass down their art form to future generations.

The Atrium Gallery showcases the arts and cultures of these communities so that everyone in Rhode Island can enjoy them.

Why is your work at RISCA important to you?

Developing programs that enable and fund intercultural collaborations among African, Latin, Asian, Arab and Native American communities is vitally important because there is Strength in Unity.

Convening diverse communities, listening, and gathering their feedback so that programs and workshops are tailored to their needs is a crucial step toward the accomplishment of this goal.

One of the most significant projects I am most honored to have been a part of was hosting several national & regional conferences here in Rhode Island. At these regional and national convenings, scholarships were provided for BIPOC leaders to attend and also participate as panelists.

Empowering arts and cultural organizations so that they can continue to share and showcase their heritage is the reason why this work is important to me. Diverse communities enrich Rhode Island’s cultural landscape.


For many years, Elena Calderón Patiño has been dedicated to the promotion and advancement of art and culture as an interdisciplinary artist, a designer, and an art administrator.

As Director of the Arts and Cultural Sustainability Program, she supervises three programs, the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program, the Folk and Traditional Arts grant program, and the Atrium Gallery at One Capitol Hill.

Elena’s leadership experience includes serving as a former Executive Board Member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), and as a Fellow for both the NALAC Advocacy Institute and the NALAC Leadership Institute. Elena also served as an advisor to the New England Foundation for the Arts New England States Touring, on Congressman Langevin’s Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, Providence College Community Advisory Council, Advisory Committee for the R.I. Arts and Culture Research Fellowship, a former board member of Providence City Arts, and Pawtucket Arts Collaborative

Elena is an interdisciplinary artist, who has participated in many local, regional, and international exhibits, most recently in the Arte y El Amor exhibition in New York, a retrospective solo exhibit in Costa Rica with over 45 pieces of artwork and at the Latin Network for the Arts Biannual in CT.

Her body of work is based on her interest in the intersection of theology, mathematics, and science. In her artwork Elena has created a narrative in which abstract ideas are personified. The result is an allegory, a combination of images, objects and symbols that reflect universal, intrinsic concepts.

Elena earned a Master’s in Art and Design (Museum Education Track) from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Metals (with a concentration in jewelry design) from Rhode Island College.