Tuesday, January 15, 2019
On View: January 17, 2019 – March 18, 2019
Opening Night: January 17, 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Providence, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism invite you to visit the Gallery at City Hall for its newest installation: Here and Now: Drawings and Multi-Media Works by Beverly Robertson featuring Providence Public School students participating in Turnaround Arts Providence and Trinity Academy of the Performing Arts. This exhibition features folk art and new work by students from Providence Public Schools. It is on view in the Gallery at Providence City Hall from January 17, 2019 – March 18, 2019. Opening Reception will be held Thursday, January 17 from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. All events are free and open to the public.
Gilbert Stuart Middle School’s works on paper were created by a diverse group of eighth-grade students working with their art teacher, Nina Bachini Jarvis. Inspired by the paintings of Kehinde Wiley, young artists explored the concept of identity politics in art. First, they learned about the canon of proportion, an ancient technique based on using the size of a human fist to estimate various bodily measurements. Then, they used the canon to draw a portrait of someone that they felt was undervalued, elevating their subject’s status by placing them in a pose inspired by a famous work of art. The symbols behind each figure enhance the ways that the portraits elevate the people depicted. In Yolenny Nunez Parra’s portrait of Dana, she depicts her classmate in the pose of the Mona Lisa by da Vinci. Nunez Parra felt that the Mona Lisa represented the ideal of femininity in da Vinci’s era and that by putting a Dana in that same pose against the Fortnite logo (a game that often perceived to be male-dominated) she could get audiences to consider whether and how societal expectations of women have changed over time. Students at Gilbert Stuart are excited to display their work in City Hall to bring attention to the people in their lives that might otherwise be underrepresented in art museums, galleries and the media.
DelSesto Middle School students worked with their art teacher, Christine E. Prescott, to create original superheroes. They were prompted to answer the following questions: What is my superhero’s name? Does my superhero have a particular suit, and does this suit itself possess their powers? What are the goals of my superhero? What powers does my superhero have that make them supernatural? Students began the process of developing their superhero designs by sketching them. During this process, they engaged each other in a peer review of their ideas. This gave them an opportunity to verbalize their intentions for their projects. After giving and receiving advice, students refined and completed their designs. They also crafted superhero artist statements. This gave them an opportunity to express, in writing, their storylines for these well-thought-out characters. Eighth-grader Adela Espinal created a superhero named “Designa” whose superpower, given to her by a magic necklace from her grandmother, allows her to save people time they would otherwise waste deciding what to wear: “Designa is here to help you decide, and design, what to wear for those special moments. She will not hesitate to help.”
Roger Williams Middle School seventh and eighth graders began their digital illustration projects by collectively reading and analyzing the lyrics of “Changes” by Tupac Shakur and “Where is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas. They were asked by media arts teacher, Antonia Lara Sanchez, to consider the power of words and expression through music. Then, they were asked to explore other artists whose songs reflect on social justice and controversial topics, such as Michael Jackson, XXXtentation and Joyner Lucas. Students were also given the option to choose a public figure that is not a musician but who has taken a stand for underrepresented minorities. Finally, students used Adobe Illustrator to illustrate a portrait, adding a meaningful quote or lyric as the background of their artwork. In Brandon Pichardo’s portrait, he depicts Tupac and extracts lyrics from the song Changes. Pichardo says that the song is, “basically saying ‘should you go through all of this hard work for nothing?’ It talks about everything that Black people go through and it’s the same thing over and over again. Every single time the police see Black people they ask if they are carrying drugs and bad things.” Seventh and eighth graders in Roger Williams’ Media Arts classes have discussed their concerns regarding national and global social problems. They are grateful and very proud to showcase their work at City Hall.
About Turnaround Arts: Providence: Turnaround Arts: Providence is part of a national public-private partnership that leverages the arts to help turn around the nation’s lowest-performing schools. Turnaround Arts: Providence is run by The City of Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and is one of 15 localities from across the nation selected by the Kennedy Center and President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and several private foundations.
About the Gallery at City Hall: Offering space to artists and organizations that might not have a permanent gallery, the Gallery at City Hall exhibits an eclectic array of work that highlights the artistic and cultural diversity found in the Providence community. The Gallery is open to the public during City Hall business hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm and is located at 25 Dorrance Street | 2nd Floor | Providence, RI 02903. For more information go to http://artculturetourism.com/main-gallery
City Hall is easily accessible by all forms of transportation. For information on parking nearby visit http://parkdowntownprovidence.com/; bus schedules available at www.ripta.com.