Throughout her career, Mary-Kim Arnold has been dedicated to “expanding access to ongoing education and intellectual inquiry,” whether as an adjunct professor at several local colleges and universities, a board member for nonprofits or as executive director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
After graduating from Brown University with a bachelor’s in English and American literature and an MFA in creative writing, Arnold served as an adjunct professor. An active member of the school’s alumni network, she eventually took a full-time position in Brown’s Division of Advancement from 2002 to 2007.
While there, she also looked for community-service opportunities. In 2004 she was named to the board of New Urban Arts. In addition, Arnold became involved with the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, the International Charter School and, eventually, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
“To see how community-based programs could transform the experiences of disenfranchised youth was a very powerful thing to witness,” Arnold explained in her 40 Under Forty application.
Since 2007 Arnold, 39, has served as the executive director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
Of all the accomplishments she has led the group in achieving, she is most proud of the council as of July 1 becoming the new home for the Rhode Island Center for the Book, previously run by the Providence Public Library.
“A few short years ago,” Arnold wrote, “we would not have had the capacity to take on another organization, to provide funding and administrative support.” The decision to do so, she said, “will strengthen our capacity to deliver humanities programs and services.” •