ACIS Logo Mary Lee Partington

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Mary Lee Partington’s interest is focused on Irish American arts and event-making specific to the historic and contemporary cultural community of New England’s Blackstone River Valley and the State of Rhode Island. Though the smallest state, RI is home to the third largest percentage of population with Irish heritage in the United States. A performing artist, singer, and writer, Partington is a founder of the Blackstone River Theatre & Heritage Arts Studio, as well as the ensemble Roscommon Soles with partner National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow (Irish step dance) Kevin Doyle. Partington’s research interest in Irish themed heritage, song, and performing arts finds a stage in Rhode Island where late 19th and 20th century entertainment raised a curtain on popular, fine, and traditional artists such as the Cohan family, soprano Eileen Farrell, and step and tap dancer Doyle. When not performing herself, Partington supports work in the arts and humanities sector, most recently as a board director and chair for RI Council for the Humanities where she served from 2005-2019 and as past chairman of the board for New Urban Arts, a nationally heralded youth development through the arts organization. Partington’s recordings include Passage to New England (BCN), which is archived in the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) in Dublin; her music provides the background for the award-winning series Along the Blackstone, a project of the National Park Service; and the Roscommon Soles “Step into the Irish Parlor” performance series.

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