Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the City of Providence Department of Planning and Development have announced the winners of 2015 PopUp Providence program funding.
“As Mayor, I am committed to exploring creative and innovative place-making techniques that improve Providence’s public spaces,” said Mayor Elorza. “We have so much artistic talent in Providence and PopUp Providence is a way to support our homegrown talent and enhance the creative landscape of our community.”
In its third round, PopUp Providence is a tactical urbanism program that empowers citizens to reinterpret the city’s public landscape, transforming common spaces into urban retreats. This place-making tool provides financial support and facilitated coordination for members of the public to generate small-scale interventions that improve the perception of a place and instill pride in the surrounding neighborhood.
The program has been positively recognized both nationally and locally. Last year, PopUp Providence received the distinguished United States Conference of Mayors City Livability Award for Outstanding Achievement, as well as the Rhode Island chapter of the American Planning Association’s Great Public Spaces Award.
PopUp Providence was initiated by the City of Providence Department of Planning and Development in October 2013, with financial support of $150,000 from the Providence Redevelopment Agency.
This year’s awardee projects include:
Artist Anna Snyder’s installation of five, 4 x 12-foot banners designed by students from Alvarez High School’s ninth grade class Art and Community, that display notable people, places, and events at Alvarez High School, and several libraries on the South Side.
Carl Lostritto’s installation to be located at Biltmore Park will feature a mirrored, faceted aluminum sculpture that creates a rigid, habitable kaleidoscope featuring patterns reflected from the park’s tree canopy and city skyline.
Students participating in the ¡CityArts! 2015 summer program will create a film of stills and video documenting their views and experiences of the Elmwood and South Side neighborhoods. A free, public outdoor screening of the film will be held in August, accompanied by live music and recordings of oral histories taken from interviews conducted by students. They will create a book of the oral and visual history of the Elmwood community that will be available at local libraries and online on the ¡CityArts! website.
Students working with DownCity Design have introduced better lighting and more color to Adrian Hall Way, by installing motion-sensor LED strip lights under the concrete edge of the three levels of risers in the plaza that light up and change colors as people walk or skateboard.
Mary Beth Meehan’s Seen/Unseen: Providence is a large scale installation of portraits of Providence residents hung throughout downtown Providence from June 2015 to June 2016.
Providence Children’s Museum has designed an interactive sound sculpture at Harriet and Sayles Park, which was installed for this summer’s PlayCorps program. The sculpture accommodates up to eight people making music with drums, chimes, triangles, wooden boxes and metal washboards.
Rhode Island Latino Arts Café Recuerdos consists of a peddler’s cart with a three-tiered, detachable wall on one side, made of painted Café Bustelo cans. Visitors will be invited to participate in a wide range of innovative programming. Each location will host videos, storytelling, performances, hands-on workshops, memory sharing and the gathering of oral histories.
Tape Art has created a continuous narrative motif with three characters: a life-sized girl, her cat and the 17-foot catfish that only the cat can see. In each location these three figures are drawn in a still frame of their interaction and their story will evolve from location to location. The majority of host buildings for these temporary installations are structures that have been affected by graffiti to create a more esthetic visual appearance.
The Steel Yard has created a travelling blacksmith shop using an old landscaping trailer. The trailer will be staffed by teams of artists throughout the year at schools, parks and community events to give demonstrations of historic blacksmithing techniques, with some hands-on activities to engage the audience. A commemorative emblem will be fashioned at each site and left as a marker of the engagement.
West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation’s W.E. Love: Capturing Beauty in Providence’s West End is a summer-long community photo project that aims to change the narrative about the West End neighborhood. Residents have captured 450 Polaroid images of beauty throughout the neighborhood via a portrait photo booth at Sankofa World Market, volunteer-led Photo Walks throughout the neighborhood, and self-led “a day in the life” tours by community members. The project will culminate in a PopUp Gallery on September 26 at Sankofa World Market.