January 21, 2020
Opening Reception: January 23, 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Exhibition on View: January 23 – March 16, 2020
Providence, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, the Art in City Life Commission, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (ACT) and Providence City Archives invite the public to visit the Gallery at City Hall for its newest installation, All That You See Is(n’t) Yours: New Work by Lynsea Montanari and Anna Snyder. The exhibition features new works inspired by the inaugural ACT Public Art Residency in Providence City Archives. Montanari and Snyder have produced new, original works in response to the prompt, “Colonial Providence” with special consideration of the Providence 1638 Deed. Their works are on view in the Gallery at Providence City Hall from January 23, 2020 – March 16, 2020. An opening reception will be held on January 23 from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.
Providence has been a unique place since its founding in 1636. As the first colony in the New World with a secular government, it was founded on the ideals of civil equality and religious liberty, and yet it sits atop land that was once shared foraging and hunting grounds of numerous indigenous tribes. This exhibition of new multi-media works explores the life of Providence’s radical founder and the documents that laid the City’s foundation, while interrogating the City’s complex colonial legacies.
Lynsea Montanari, a Narragansett visual artist, used her art-making as a way into asking questions about the ideological clash of Narragansett spirituality and colonial religion: “What does it mean to ‘Purchase land with love’ from a community that does not have a concept of land ownership? Where do values lie? What happens when these two different communities intersect?”
Anna Snyder, says that the exhibition “attempts to remind the viewer that the founding and development of this state and nation, though in some ways radical and inspiring, was facilitated by an unrelenting campaign of deceit, theft and violence, a violence which is to this day apparent in American policy, both foreign and domestic.” Today, as we celebrate colonial Providence, we must also acknowledge this history and our complicity in its invisibilization.
In addition to this exhibition, the Providence City Archives is excited to announce the return of the City’s original founding documents to City Hall on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at the Third-Floor Gallery during a ceremony that begins at 5:30 PM. The City’s founding documents include the 1648 Town Charter, the 1637 Providence Civil Compact, and the 1638 Deed to Providence. These important historical documents will be housed in a state-of-the-art museum-quality case that is equipped with climate control, UV and light protection, and an alarm system. In addition, there will be a multi-lingual transcription of the documents and their captions at a touchscreen kiosk that will provide users with an interactive experience.
Ongoing ACT Public Art Residencies place artists in City facilities and offices to engage directly with residents and staff. Through these residencies, artists develop projects that infuse artistic practices and creative problem solving into residents’ lives and the everyday operations of the City.
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
About the Art in City Life Commission: The Art in City Life Commission was formed to create standardized policies and procedures for public art on publicly held land and set guidelines for private developers. The Art in City Life Commission is staffed by the Department of Art, Culture and Tourism (ACT). In 2018 the Department and Commission released the Art in City Life Plan, Providence’s first master plan for public art which established ACT Public Art under the auspices of the Commission.
About City Archives: A formal archival program for the City of Providence was established in 1978 as part of a year-long centennial observance marking the dedication of City Hall. The archives, located on the 5th floor of City Hall, house an extensive collections of manuscripts, printed material, maps, blueprints, and photographic images that span the period from the colony’s founding in 1636 to the present. The nearly 40,000-cubic-feet of records detail all aspects of the development and operation of municipal government. These collections offer researchers a unique opportunity to trace the history of the state’s capital city. The archives are stewarded by the City Archivist Caleb Horton.
Getting there: 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.