Rhode Island – Unique

2rhode-islandRhode Island was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America. The state fostered its own industry utilizing what existed making Rhode Island unique and special. The state grew and  roads and railroads were built in order to accommodate the industry. Providence, easily accessible by water became a major world seaport. In fact, during the Revolutionary War, the craftspeople and merchants became the primary suppliers of goods for the French and Continental armies. Providence was a city of self-made business entrepreneurs who financed expeditions to the Mediterranean, the Far and Middle East by 1781. Thanks to booming trade, the city grew and flourished; traditional wood homes were transformed into glorious ornate brick mansions. Then, sometime after WWII all that industry left the state leaving a huge legacy of abandoned industrial sites.

Providence is a resistant and somewhat matter-of-fact city, a private place perfectly happy to get along with whatever might come along and to do without, if it does not. The city of aloofness is also home to an art scene that is artsy and low-key but packs a punch with RISD, the art galleries and art competitions in and around Providence and Pawtucket. Today the city boasts a thriving cultural and academic community.rhode-island

This is a more easy going city than many of the larger art cities of the United States. There is a sense of slowing down and of gathering particularly on Water Fire evenings. There are galleries in converted and restored mills, artists living and working in the same places, art contests sponsored by galleries and art clubs, exhibition spaces available in revitalized mills, and interesting galleries on the Brown Campus. With all this to boast about, there seems to be yet a kind of conscious neglect, a disinclination to promote, and brand beyond the confines of the city.

Nonetheless, gentrification is occurring and areas like Pawtucket and Olneyville are experiencing a renewal in urban planning and development. With cheaper spaces, a friendly scene and a thoughtful audience, the once abandoned outskirts of Providence are making noise in the art world. There is Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket with shops, coffee roasters, yoga, galleries, performance art and restaurants. In Olneyville there is The Plant with artists residences, shops, the famous Cuban Revolution restaurant, Yellow Peril Gallery, Just Art Contemporary Art gallery and GRIN gallery. Down the street from The Plant is Rising Sun Mills hosting residential lofts, commercial spaces and a wonderful restaurant/café. These are all revitalized turn of the century New England mills and exactly what Providence needs, a multifaceted environment that is organic, historic, full of an old world scrappy-type of charm.Bowens-Wharf-Newport,-RI-787005

With the amazing power and pull of RISD where many young artists come to not only study but begin their careers, Brown University, Providence College and Rhode Island College bring lots of vitality to the city’s intellectual life and with Johnson & Wales University, the largest culinary educator in the world, the city’s restaurants experience world class culinary talent. Thus, it is a wonder why a national museum does not exist in Providence; it would certainly make the city world-class and help bump it up and out of the niche of just being worldly.

Studies Abroad

ImageThursday the 16th is Gallery Night. We are replacing the conceptual and abstract works with figurative works and these will be available for two weeks when we will be again changing the exhibit to display the latest works from Luciano Bellet arriving this week.

The links below go along with our focus and goal of fostering art abroad and that means both ways, from the US to Italy and from Europe to the United States. In fact, we are organizing for next summer a few art studies here in Providence with visiting artists from Italy so stay tuned.

http://www.acadweb.wwu.edu/eesp/template/studyabroad/home_italy.shtml and this is another link to art studies in Florence. http://santareparata.org/

One of the reasons we believe studies abroad are crucial to artistic development is for the same reason we chose Italian art, the fact that historically, Italy has contributed so much to the European art world and consequently to the world. Living abroad for just a few months is not enough time for one to absorb and immerse oneself into the minutiae of all the art contained not just in museums but also on the streets of all of Europe. Every building and corner and door is a work of art and finding a way to give the brain an overload of everything that inspired our ancestors is crucial to becoming the artist that lies within. “One must un-learn in order to make room for the poetry, that works of art were just a sum of errors.” Riccardo Schweizer

Lest we not forget, that an education is one thing but, an education obtained via museums, travels and living in Europe and abroad will stimulate the artist to un-learn, leaving room for the expression within.