Mayor Angel Taveras, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and FirstWorks announced yesterday that the City of Providence will receive a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant. The $75,000 grant will support a community design effort to create a cultural corridor in downtown Providence along Washington Street, and to establish the FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza as a biennial signature event in Providence.
The city’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and cultural partner FirstWorks will use the award to continue the transformation of Kennedy Plaza, a key component of Mayor Taveras’ economic development action plan, Putting Providence Back to Work.
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It is that time of year for us to take a look back and What Cheer the good and What Jeer the bad.
Work commences on the Washington Bridge Linear Park
It has been in the works for years, but finally RIDOT has started work on the Washington Bridge Linear Park.
Through a $22 million contract, RIDOT will rebuild the remaining section of the original Washington Bridge that carries the existing bikeway and a section of the original highway bridge. In the same footprint will be a much wider bikeway and linear park. It will feature a separate bikeway and walking path, scenic overlooks, park benches, flag poles, decorative lighting and landscaped planters. The project also calls for restoration of the historic, multi-arch granite façade of the Washington Bridge and two operator’s houses from which an original drawbridge was controlled.
When opened, the new linear park will be named the George Redman Linear Park, after the East Providence resident who was instrumental in making the East Bay Bike Path a reality 25 years ago. Redman continues to advocate for bike path development across the state.
Wind Turbines at Fields Point
While they were installed in January, the whole City was speculating when the would finally start spinning. Turns out they wouldn’t start up until October. But now they are finally spinning and adding some environmental goodness to the Providence skyline. Hope we’ll some more.
Overnight parking expansion
While it has been studied endlessly for years (even as the rest of the world seemed to be able to embrace it and not devolve into chaos), in April, overnight parking has finally started spreading throughout the City.
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Updated with more photos and a video of the Bandaloop performance from GoProvidence.com
AS220 Photo Mem: Kennedy Plaza Portrait Project: September 29 – November 15, 2012
Artists’ Reception: September 29, 2012, 4-9 pm – Gallery at City Hall, 25 Dorrance Street, 2nd Floor
Mobile RIPTA Bus Gallery – on Washington St., September 29, 4-9pm
AS220, RIPTA, and Nail Communications have come together to produce “MOVING” – a fully functioning RIPTA bus that will serve as a mobile art gallery. Wrapped inside and out with black and white photographs, taken by students in the AS220 Youth program, of Rhode Islanders who use Kennedy Plaza in a myriad of different ways, the bus gallery will have a “non-moving” opening in Kennedy Plaza on September 29th from 4-9pm and will then hit the roads for the duration of the Fall, changing routes on a regular basis to bring the art project to the most people possible. The project is part of FirstWorks Festival: On the Plaza in 2012.
For the past three years, the AS220 Youth photography program called “Photo Mem” has spent six weeks each summer producing the Kennedy Plaza Portrait Project. The goal is to capture a cross section of Rhode Island citizens by photographing Black & White portraits and recording interviews of a small cross section of the tens of thousands of people who use Kennedy Plaza every day. The project also gives our Youth the opportunity to enhance their social skills (approaching people, communicating to them about the project, interviewing them), photography skills (taking a good photo, developing it) and design skills (hands-on experience working with Nail Communications on designing the bus), that they otherwise would not be able to take advantage of.
In addition to the bus, photos from years past will also be on display at the City Hall Gallery starting on September 29th.
Late last year we took a look at a New Vision for Kennedy Plaza. The plan looked towards moving the Plaza away from its mono-use as a transit hub toward integrating arts programming, open space, merchants, and more into the Greater Kennedy Plaza area. Today, the City, the Greater Kennedy Plaza Coalition, and FirstWorks recieved a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to further that goal.
One of only 51 Our Town grants awarded nationwide, the NEA award will be used to create high-quality arts programming at Greater Kennedy Plaza and bring together major stakeholders to create a detailed master plan design for the space.
Providence’s Creative Capital Hub Project brings together 17 arts and business partners to creatively address improvements to Greater Kennedy Plaza. The activities of the grant include collaboration with FirstWorks, designing a new stage by Providence’s Tony Award winning set designer Eugene Lee, and raising the quality of artistic programming on the plaza with local and national artists. The Department of Art, Culture + Tourism will administer the grant.
“The City of Providence and RIPTA have been working with the Greater Kennedy Plaza coalition to develop a plan to transform Greater Kennedy Plaza from a transit hub to a great public space. This grant will tip the scales in our fundraising efforts and allow our city’s exceptional arts organizations to contribute to the development of our city’s central square,” said Mayor Taveras.