Sunday, May 24, 2015

Events ~ Providence International Arts Festival announces Artist Roster

From the press release...

New signature Festival to use buildings as canvases and musical instruments,
and showcase local, national and international artists

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and FirstWorks Executive Artistic Director Kathleen Pletcher announced the artist roster of the PROVIDENCE INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL set for June 13th, 2015, with extended events taking place June 11th-14th. In this first-ever signature event, arts and culture stage a friendly takeover of the city with 500 artists, 30 public art installations, 15 stages, 18 participating venues, 6 outdoor bars, 3 jaw dropping spectacles, and much more. The dramatic scale and scope of this marquee Festival in the “Creative Capital” of Rhode Island is due to the public-private partnership forged between the City’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and FirstWorks, a Providence-based non-profit organization dedicated to building community through the arts. Festival lead sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts, Providence Tourism Council, the Rhode Island Foundation, along with key support from IGT (formerly GTECH), and The Avenue Concept. All main Festival events are free and open to the public.

Radiating out from the heart of the downtown, Saturday, June 13th Festival will showcase a bounty of local, national, and international artists - from Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Mali, Poland, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and more; use entire buildings as public art canvases; create a remarkable cultural corridor; and light up the evening sky with extraordinary spectacles. As the main hub, Kennedy Plaza becomes a multistage pedestrian piazza with performances, art, and celebration. Washington Street offers an opportunity to stroll and experience surprising art installations, street arts, the diversity of Providence’s cultural community, and more. WaterFire activates the downtown rivers with a full lighting and dynamic sounds. A colorful procession and opening ceremony converges at the FirstWorks Plaza Stage.

"The first ever Providence International Arts Festival will showcase all that Providence has to offer using the city as a stage,” Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “We are the Creative Capital and this Festival is an opportunity to celebrate the arts and to support our artists. I invite everyone to join us."
Propelled by Mayor Elorza’s vision for a destination arts festival and building on the 10-year collaboration between FirstWorks and Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, the partners have created the inaugural PROVIDENCE INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL. The City and FirstWorks have co-led the curation and production of the Festival, connecting international acts with local talent and engaging Rhode Islanders.

“Visitors and residents alike will experience the power of the arts to transform our city,” stated Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director of FirstWorks. “FirstWorks has drawn in international artists to join Providence’s world-class talent for this remarkable event. Festivalgoers will see the familiar anew, as parking lots become lounges and building facades are used as painting surfaces. Equally exciting is the passion our visiting artists have for connecting with communities and students across the state.”

Kennedy Plaza anchors the Festival with six stages, a Buy Local RI marketplace, art and performance inside City Hall, and two satellite art spaces:

  • The FirstWorks Plaza Stage features world-music powerhouse and “undisputed Queen of African Music,” Benin exile Angélique Kidjo; the Pedrito Martinez Group, writing a new chapter in Cuban music history; Brassy afro-beat orchestra BIXIGA 70, named after their neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil; Opening Ceremonies premiering a Festival commission by RPM Voices’s RI-Sounding Voices, performed by a statewide chorus; plus the RI Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School Jazz Ensemble, and Jazz at Lincoln Center performing with FirstWorks Arts Learning students.
  • Grammy Award-winning Malian superstar Oumou Sangaré, with local master drummer Sidy Maiga; Providence-based band Arc Iris, featuring Jocie Adams (formerly of The Low Anthem) in an eclectic mix of Björk and Joni Mitchell; RI Philharmonic Brass Quintet playing music of Leonard Bernstein; local Cape Verdean superstar Chachi de Carvahlo; and Salsa y Gaitas getting everyone dancing at Alex and Ani City Center Stage.
  • Music and spoken word ensemble Aurea performs Melville and the Great White Whale in the City Council Chambers. Photographer Mary Beth Meehan displays additional portraits of Providence residents from her Seen/Unseen series in the Gallery at City Hall.
  • Patrons will enjoy culinary treats from local food trucks and vendors.
  • A Buy Local RI marketplace of local artisans, retail shops and purveyors of fine, locally sourced goods and services will run in Burnside Park. Families will enjoy interactive programming presented by the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy in collaboration with the Partnership for Providence Parks.
  • Street spectacles on Kennedy Plaza grounds will include:
  • The Earth Harp Collective installs and performs three concerts on the world’s largest stringed instrument stretching between the center of the plaza and to 111 Westminster Street, known locally as “the Superman Building.” Use of this iconic building is provided by David Sweetser and High Rock Development.
  • Stunning physical and aerial theater by Wise Fool New Mexico, a collective that uses the visual and performing arts of circus and puppetry for social engagement.
  • Multimedia, site-specific, air-powered Squonk Opera using blowers of all kinds to make a 40-foot tall Lady Pneumatica.
  • The Columbus Theatre and Imaginary Company create a satellite stage against the Arcade façade (43 Weybosset Street) and present Providence-area bands including The Low Anthem, Gym Shorts, And the Kids (North Hampton, MA), and others.
  • A second satellite space at 180 Westminster Street will feature an exhibition by The Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art. Winter King Hawthorn is a sculptural installation of color and light developed by Providence-based artist Lynne Harlow.
Washington Street becomes an arts corridor with temporary public art installations and pop-up performances including:
  • Ephemeral and permanent murals by Festival Creative Partner The Avenue Concept and international street artists Etam Cru and Natalia Rak, and Providence-based Tape Art.
  • The Coastway Community Stage hosts 18 cultural groups celebrating traditions from Colombia, Laos, the Middle East, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and more.
  • The Dean Hotel and The Avenue Concept creates an Interactive Skate Park and Sculpture Lounge, featuring local DJs and food on the parking lot located between Washington St. and Fountain St.
  • The Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, RI State Council on the Arts, RI Council on the Humanities, and PopUp Providence presenting “Providence Portraits,” by public artist and photographer Mary Beth Meehan of the city’s people in the public sphere.
  • Adrian Hall Way is animated by two DownCity Design commissioned installations: unveiling their PopUp Providence lighting project- Leave Your Trace- and youth-designed and built Skate Bench. Trinity Rep performs on their mobile wagon stage, custom designed by Tony Award‐winning set designer Eugene Lee. Live music sets the stage for a Festival hang-out.
  • Street performances, music, and puppetry featuring Big Nazo and ERB (Extraordinary Rendition Band).

Theatrical works, in the streets and in the city’s treasured theater spaces, by the brightest lights of the theater world, will be staged throughout the weekend:

  • The world premiere of Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical by distinguished playwright and MacArthur Fellow Sarah Ruhl at Trinity Repertory Company (ticketed event).
  • The premiere of the play Baggage by Frank V. Toti, Jr. at the URI Providence campus.
  • Freedom Project, a multimedia physical theater piece by Everett Company at the Roger Williams
  • National Memorial.
  • Street theatre by a group of “Time Travelers” produced by OUTLOUD Theatre.

Not to be missed are exhibits at URI Providence, Paperworks, and the Providence Public Library; Providence Children’s Film Festival; sidewalk sales, local artists in stores, and food trucks along Hope Street between Rochambeau Library and Fifth Street; the Providence Preservation Society’s Festival of Historic Houses, which showcases contemporary living in historic homes in the Fox Point neighborhood; and WaterFire, which will light up the river on Saturday night. On Sunday, close out the weekend with Fire Camp at the industrial and creative arts facility The Steel Yard, where there will be hands-on activities for all ages.

Many venues around town will join in the fun and let attendees choose their own adventure, be it karaoke (The Boombox), jamming to the WBRU Summer Kick-off with live music by Matt and Kim and The Kooks (Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel), getting a groove on at The Sweatshop Dance Party with DJ Andy Morris (the Salon), laughing along with Gina Brillon (The Comedy Connection), listening to Poetry in Public Places (Cafe S.O.U.L. and Christopher Johnson), or checking out RI’s beauties at a drag queen show (The Dark Lady).

The Festival is funded with lead support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Providence Tourism Council, The Rhode Island Foundation, IGT (formerly GTECH) and The Avenue Concept. Additional support is was provided by Amica, Textron, Bank of America, Citizen’s Bank, Coastway Bank, Cornish and the Biltmore Garage, Alex and Ani, CVS Health, Waterson/ProvPort, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and University Orthopedics.

Up-to-the-minute information can be found at Contact FirstWorks at 401-421-4278 or Full festival schedule will be available June 1, 2015.


About FirstWorks
FirstWorks brings exceptional world-class performing arts experiences to Rhode Island, impacting the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of the community. Launched in 2004, as a turn-around of First Night Providence, FirstWorks has since produced 23 groundbreaking arts festivals and programs that attracted more than 175,000 participants, and presented over 60 premiere performances.

FirstWorks has offered Rhode Islanders unprecedented access to some of the most exciting artists of this time, including Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Wynton Marsalis, Joffrey Ballet, and international masters from the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

The FirstWorks Arts Learning Program works with over 30 public and charter schools across Rhode Island to provide students, particularly those from underserved communities, direct connection with world-class performing artists and creative thinkers.

The “festival’ concept is built into every FirstWorks performances, from pre-show student showcases, artists up close conversations and other ways to engage the audience and build a sense of community. Visit to learn more.

About Providence’s Department of Art, Culture and Tourism
Established in 2003, the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (AC+T) ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. Visit

Friday, May 22, 2015

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Volvo Ocean Race: Newport stop by alex feuti, via I {heart} Rhody
Volvo Ocean Race: Newport stop by alex feuti

Hands by ArtFan70, via I {heart} Rhody
Hands by ArtFan70

Where The Magic Happens...... by Donna St.Pierre, via I {heart} Rhody
Where The Magic Happens...... by Donna St.Pierre

Scarborough Beach Ruins. Narragansett, RI #beach #landscape #architecture #photography #water #clouds #instagram #streetphotography #photo #history #freelance  #beautiful #awesome by Fire In The Eye Photography, via I {heart} Rhody
Scarborough Beach Ruins. Narragansett, RI #beach #landscape #architecture #photography #water #clouds #instagram #streetphotography #photo #history #freelance #beautiful #awesome by Fire In The Eye Photography

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Artists ~ Toni Tubridy ~ Narragansett

Artist’s name: Toni Tubridy
Shop name: TT Totes

1. Tell us about your work
I make one of a kind totes and handbags from a variety of different fabrics. I pay special attention to every detail to ensure a quality product for my customers at a reasonable cost.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I have always enjoyed sewing and made many of my own clothing as well as for my three daughters. While my girls were in school I needed something to keep me occupied as I did a lot of volunteering in their schools. I saw an ad for a seamstress who could work from home so that's how I became involved in making handbags. I made handbags for someone else using his fabrics and patterns. After 5-6 years it became rather mundane and I soon became bored with making the same bags over and over. With the encouragement from my girls I decided to strike out on my own and that's how TT Totes was born! I use my own patterns and decide which fabrics to use. I can be as creative as I want and I love it!

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from looking at a piece of fabric and envisioning what type of bag to make from it. I consider the feel of the fabric and if it has a design on it.

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
My favorite item to create is the crossbody messenger bag. It's so versatile in that it can be worn either over the shoulder or across the chest thus keeping your hands free.

5. What’s your best seller?
My best seller is the crossbody messenger because of it's versatility.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I was born in RI but moved to Massachusetts when I got married in 1978. We raised our family there but we always had a summer house here which we used on the weekends in the summer. We always said that once our girls were out on their own that we would make RI our permanent residence. Well we did that 3 years ago and haven't looked back.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
What I love about RI is that it's such a small state that everyone knows everyone for the most part. People are friendlier here and the lifestyle is a little slower paced. And the beaches are beautiful!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Architecture ~ Chepachet Baptist Church

Chepachet Free Will Baptist Church
1213 Putnam Pike
Chepachet, Rhode Island

During the Preservation Conference, I attended a talk about the history of the Chepachet Meeting House (now the Chepachet Free Will Baptist Church).

The building and congregation have a long and storied history, as does the architecture of New England meeting houses in general.

Chepachet Free Will Baptist Church
The congregation gathered in 1822 and occupied the Meeting House, which was built in 1821 by the Proprietors of the Chepachet Meeting House, who still own the building today.

The building is designed in the Federal style, which emphasizes symmetry and balance. The architect was Elias Carter. Carter also designed churches and public buildings up and down the east coast, from New Hampshire to Georgia.

The sanctuary can hold about people. 135 on the main floor, and another 100 in the balconies.

The building was expanded by adding a vestry in 1892. In 1840 the pew pattern was modified, and in the late 1800s, the traditional high pulpit was removed to allow placement of the E.Wl. Lane tracker pipe organ that stands there now.

stairs to the balconies

balcony seats

view from the balcony
The bell in the steeple was cast by George Holbrook in 1822. From what I could find, Hollbrook was the third major bellfounder in America, and an apprentice of Paul Revere. Hollbrook bells are known for their musical quality. The Chepachet Baptist Bell rings at F#.

One of the building's claims to fame was its proximity to major events in the Dorr Rebellion of 1842. The rebellion was in favor of suffrage for men who didn't own property, and it divided the congregation by pro and con. It's perhaps not coincidental that another church in Chepachet was founded at about that time, but many of the church's members were "Dorrites."

Today, the church still holds services and has an active congregation. It's a major source for historical information in Chepachet, and also hosts free music concerts in the summertime.

Friday, May 15, 2015

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Quieting The Mind..... by Donna St.Pierre, via I {heart} Rhody
Quieting The Mind..... by Donna St.Pierre

The Supper At Emmaus by ArtFan70, via I {heart} Rhody
The Supper At Emmaus by ArtFan70

19 Myette-Plasse by Frank Grace, via I {heart} Rhody
19 Myette-Plasse by Frank Grace

Scarborough Beach Ruins. Narragansett, RI #beach #landscape #architecture #photography #water #clouds #instagram #streetphotography #photo #history #freelance  #beautiful #awesome by Fire In The Eye Photography, via I {heart} Rhody
Scarborough Beach Ruins. Narragansett, RI #beach #landscape #architecture #photography #water #clouds #instagram #streetphotography #photo #history #freelance #beautiful #awesome by Fire In The Eye Photography

Stormy by Eddy, via I {heart} Rhody
Stormy by Eddy

Untitled by MrsLamontagne423, via I {heart} Rhody
Untitled by MrsLamontagne423

Misty girls by Keith Bragg, via I {heart} Rhody
Misty girls by Keith Bragg

Newport, Rhode Island is beautiful by Kelsey Garcia, via I {heart} Rhody
Newport, Rhode Island is beautiful by Kelsey Garcia

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Artists ~ Laura Henkin ~ North Kingstown

Artist’s name: Laura Henkin
Shop name: LnKDesigns

1. Tell us about your work. 
I'm a little bit different from some other crafters because I work in three different mediums. I hand-carve Swedish Star Lights from bass wood and then assemble and add LED lighting to the lights. I also absolutely love to make Swarovski Crystal jewelry and dog collars/leashes and I hand-paint glass jewelry as well. Finally, I make Treasure Soap in fun shapes and sizes (think Titanic sinking ships and Death Star soap or small owls or bricks and minifigures for party favors) and I embed Lego and Disney minifigures in the middle of a bar of soap for fun to encourage kids to wash their hands! Basically, I try to make beautiful things that make people feel happy and peaceful.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer? 
Believe it or not I was the musical one in the family. I played the flute and several orchestras, dabbled on piano and recently started playing the Irish tin whistle. Otherwise, I did not consider myself artistically creative in any way. Originally, my sister Kate and I planned to start a company where I would be the business manager/social media director. She was to be in charge of all creative activities. I was still recovering from a serious health issue and Kate and I were together grieving over our dad's recent passing. We started making jewelry together and I found the work to be very therapeutic. I loved to go to art fairs and festivals and really put my work out there. It was nerve-wracking and rewarding at the same time and I absolutely love running a small business and seeing it grow. My sister ended up concentrating on her demanding and booming cooking career in Boston. I ended up on both sides of the business, creatively developing new products and marketing and selling it in public and online. My new career is as much a surprise to me as to anybody else. I have been developing a new side of me that I did not know existed.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration? 
My inspiration is drawn from my family, from the strength and beauty of nature, specifically the seashore. A lot of my jewelry is ocean-themed. I have a lot of very happy and peaceful items that are an explosion of colors and uplifting.

4. What’s your favorite item to create? 
I really love to hand-carve Swedish star lights. I started making them in honor of my father and my Swedish heritage. I find carving wood to be a very peaceful way to spend my time, although primarily I save this task for something to do after my three boys go to sleep at night as it is a dangerous thing to do while distracted!

5. What’s your best seller? 
This is a two-part answer. Online my best seller is my Save the Lego Guy Soap and specifically, people like to "save" Harry Potter, Emmet and Star Wars characters from being in the soap by washing their hands. At art fairs and festivals and other "in person" events, my best sellers are Swarovski tennis bracelets, bangle bracelets and my new Swarovski Victorian Romance Rings.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island? 
We moved here from Boston about 11 and 1/2 years ago.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? 
I absolutely love the slower pace of a rural farming town with a thriving art community, a series of fairs and festivals and of course, the beauty of Wickford and the beaches of Narragansett Bay. My neighbors and friends are fantastic! Oh, and it's hard to forget the Blue Angels flying over my neighborhood!

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add: 
Please feel free to Like my Facebook page and follow on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and of course, Etsy to see my new ideas and discover when I will be setting up my white tent outside so I can meet you in person!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Events ~ First Providence/Boston Food Truck Showdown ~ Providence ~ June 6, 2015

Announcing the First Providence/Boston Food Truck Showdown
Vote for Your Favorite Truck!

Featuring a Samuel Adams Beer Garden

Providence, RI- Food Truck Festivals of America is pleased to announce the first ever Providence/Boston Food Truck Showdown, coming to India Point Park on Saturday, June 6th, at noon (VIP hour at 11 AM). The festival will feature 20+ of Boston and Providence’s most popular food trucks serving up a variety of fan favorites, including local seafood, BBQ, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, cupcakes, whoopee pies, and much more. General admission is $5.Samuel Adams beer and Polar beverages will also be available for purchase.

Until 3:30, foodies can vote for their favorite truck! A panel of judges will also be conducting their own vote. There will be a Fan Favorite and a Judge’s Favorite.

Some of the Trucks...
Sneak peak at Providence: 
• GottaQ
• Plouf Plouf Gastronomie
• Simply Scrumptious
• Z Food Truck

Sneak peak at Boston:
• Ipswich Clambake
• Frozen Hoagies
• Mei Mei Street Kitchen
• Moyzilla

...And much more to come from both cities!

VIP Experience
For those foodies that want a little more out of their festival experience, the VIP hour is for you! VIP tickets are $20, and from 11:00am- Noon, and provide:
• early access to the festival
• no lines
• unlimited non-alcoholic beverages
• one free dessert from Whoo(pie) Wagon
• a koozie from Food Truck Festivals of America

Ticket Information
For more information please visit To purchase VIP or $5 General Admission tickets, visit

India Point Park is located on Gano St, Providence, RI 02903.

For the very latest news please follow @FTFofAmerica on twitter and “like” us on

For media inquiries only or to request visual materials, please call Aigner/Prensky Marketing Group, Inc. at 617-254-9500.

Friday, May 8, 2015

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Dusk...Providence Rhode Island by Fire In The Eye Photography via I {heart} Rhody
Dusk...Providence Rhode Island by Fire In The Eye Photography

Precious Blood Cemetery by Frank Grace, via I {heart} Rhody
Precious Blood Cemetery by Frank Grace

How's the Bite? by John Crosby, via I {heart} Rhody
How's the Bite? by John Crosby

Untitled by MrsLamontagne423, via I {heart} Rhody
Untitled by MrsLamontagne423

POINT STREET BRIDGE by Alex Tao Wang, via I {heart} Rhody

3 Herring by ArtFan70, via I {heart} Rhody
3 Herring by ArtFan70

The Alter...... by Donna St.Pierre, via I {heart} Rhody
The Alter...... by Donna St.Pierre