Greater City Providence

Art Scene Lately: Saturday Arts Swoop

Last Saturday I continued my art gets me out the door theme, hitting up art events in Pawtucket, the East Side, and Federal Hill. I write about this not because my Saturday was remarkable, but rather because it highlights that on any given day our local scene is worthy of an arts day out.

Browsing the arts venues that line the farmers’ market at Hope Artiste Village was my warm-up.

What I respect is that these artists set up each Saturday knowing full well that the majority of folks come to buy produce and delectables. No matter, they open up and present their own creative product. This Saturday I got acquainted with the newest arts venue – Contrast Art Gallery — where owner/artist Dante Laurenzo had his works on exhibit.

2009-0430_art001Next was the RISD student art sale. At this year’s student sale I was intrigued most by Ben Noam’s abstract paintings of the RISD logo. Maybe it’s the current climate, but these drippy, unfixed logos of the RISD mark got to me.

While this sale has come and gone, fear not, you can catch the RISD Alumni Spring Art Sale this weekend – Saturday, May 2nd on Benefit Street, 10am to 4pm (rain or shine). If you have never been to one of these RISD sales definitely take note, bring a checkbook or cash and witness how designers and artists from all across the country return to sell direct to us. The diversity and quality of both high-end and affordable items at the sale is remarkable.

I finished the afternoon with two exhibit stops — a friend’s studio painting preview party and a Gallery Z event. Admittedly, these are the kind of art events for which one needs to do a bit of looking.

My advice is to do the Fall Pawtucket Open Studios, sign in at all studios that interest you, and get on the weekly city cultural email. In a city such as Providence most of us probably come into contact with local artists. So, getting invited might be as simple as expressing interest and asking to be added to their mailing lists. The artist hosting this particular studio opening was someone who I first began talking with in yoga class.

My Saturday day wrapped at Gallery Z conveniently in proximity to Pastiche yet still with numerous local arts “to do’s” left for another day.

Photos by Margie Butler

Margie Butler

Margie grew up outside of Hartford, Connecticut at a time when families frequently ventured downtown for culture, classes, and shopping. After living in New York and working as a consultant for over a decade Margie migrated east landing first in New Bedford where she ran that city’s downtown cultural economic development project AHA! Since 2004 Margie has lived in Providence on the East Side and consulted in marketing and the arts. Margie is interested in how creative cities can take a more authentic inside-out approach to presenting the arts across neighborhoods and genres.


  • Great post… I definitely want to spotlight and focus on two things you mentioned…

    Pawtucket Open Studios: Amazing works in an amazingly well coordinated event. I have friends who have outfitted much of their home with wonderful artwork purchased at low prices from POS.

    The Dept of Arts and Culture Newsletter: It’s easily the best rundown of what’s going on in the city each week. Whoever developed their template for that newsletter deserves an award, raise, or both.

  • Bret, I couldn’t agree with you more. Now we just need to get more people tuning into these events and weekly emails!

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