Events

Upcoming

  • Apr
    25

    What are the stories a storm drain can tell? Can sanitation be loveable?Under the Umbrella, an immersive game, poetic installation, and community art project reframes the everyday landscape as a place of adventure, quest seeking, and quiet discovery. Therese Kelly will share how architectural storytelling can promote both social and environmental resilience.


    Therese Kelly is an architect and social practice artist committed to creating a vibrant public realm. She is also co-founder of the Los Angeles Urban Rangers, an interdisciplinary group that offers urban hikes, field exercises, and critical cartography to promote exploration and discovery of everyday urban landscapes. Therese graduated cum laude from Princeton University and earned her M.Arch from University of California, Los Angeles as a Regent’s Fellow. Published and exhibited widely, including at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, her work is currently on view in Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s, “By the People: Designing a Better America.”

    History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities, Identity, Culture, Inclusion
  • Harry Callahan American, 1912 - 1999, Providence, 1961, Gelatin silver print, 6.5 x 6.5 Bell Gall...
    May
    4
    All Day

    Exhibition: The Providence Album, Vol 1

    Nightingale-Brown House

    The Providence Album, Vol 1 explores the life, look and history of Providence in the 1960s through the photography of Carmel Vitullo and Harry Callahan.

    Providence in the 1960s appeared to be a city in decline. Many residents were starting to move out of the city and into the surrounding suburbs at a rate faster than any other American city except for Detroit. Downtown hotels, offices and department stores would close in the 60s and 70s, relocating to the suburbs to chase these residents. As the downtown core emptied out, planners became fixated on providing amenities to attract suburban drivers: wider roads, a more efficient way into and out of the city via I-95 (built 1957-65), and many, many parking lots. It was a tremendous amount of change – even trauma – in such a short period of time, and its impacts fell especially acutely on neighborhoods and residents of color.

    The Providence Album, Vol 1 revisits Providence in the 1960s through the photographs of Carmel Vitullo and Harry Callahan, whose powerful images capture the city during this time of tremendous change.

    Vitullo, who is now 94 and still lives in Providence, documented Federal Hill during this period; her photographs are a love letter to the neighborhood in which she grew up, revealing its vibrant street life and inimitable characters. Callahan moved from Chicago to Providence in 1961 to found RISD’s photography department. Already a well-known experimental photographer then, Callahan would go on to become one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century. While he lived in Providence, he photographed what was close by; his images of downtown are like the stills of a film noir movie, showing dark and deserted streets, surreal window displays, and well-dressed white women in heels who recall the heroines of Alfred Hitchcock movies.

    If photographs are a way of telling stories, the stories that Vitullo and Callahan were telling about Providence were very different, with contrasting narratives about modern urban life, the role of advertising in the public space of the street, and postwar female identity.

    Marisa Angell Brown, Assistant Director of Programs at the Center for Public Humanities, curated the exhibition with Yilin (Elaine) Huang MA ’20, Yao-Hsuan (Sharon) Lin MA ’20, Dashiell Wasserman PhD ’20 and Ariana Wescott MA ’20, all graduate students in the Public Humanities Master’s program. The exhibition includes audio recordings of interviews that Lin conducted with Vitullo, Stephan Brigidi (one of Callahan’s early students), and long-time Providence residents who reminisce about the spaces in these photographs and the city in the 1960s. The photographs have been loaned by the Bell Gallery at Brown and the Bert Gallery in Providence.

    Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-4pm; closed holidays.

    Opening reception: Saturday, May 4, 5-7pm.

    Gallery talks: Thursday, May 16 at 6pm; Friday, May 24 at 3pm; and Saturday, May 25 at 2pm.

    The exhibition and all associated programs are free and open to the public.

    This exhibition participates in Year of the City: The Providence Project , a year-long exploration of the history, life and culture of Providence’s 25 neighborhoods through exhibitions, performances, walks, lectures and conferences produced by more than 50 different curators.

  • May
    4
    9:00am

    Untitled (Walking)

    Nightingale-Brown House

    An arduous 2-day, 20-mile walk through all of Providence. Level: Moderate / Strenuous / Very Strenuous.

    Join us on a two-day collaborative walk through Providence. We are ditching the guide books and traditional walking tour format to create a make-as-we-go experience that will take us through every single one of Providence’s twenty-five neighborhoods over two intense days. And yes, you can register for just one day!

    Who will map our route? Passers-by whom we encounter in the streets. We will set out on Saturday, May 4 and/or Sunday, May 5 with 5-10 locations across the city that we intend to hit that day. We will ask passers-by to recommend our walking routes between locations based on specific prompts (for example – What is the route that will have us encounter the widest variety of sounds? What is a route that bypasses places that have particular meaning to you or your community?). Our walk will be shaped by the people we encounter along the way. Some may even join us for part or all of the day.

    How will we shape this experience? Together, we walkers will pick the city locations that we want to visit, contribute prompts that will generate our route from passers-by, and bring or conceive of one activity that should be done by the group en route. Each walker will serve as the group’s Cartographer for short stints over the two days as we record the path of our walk, the question that prompted the route, and the name/s of the passers-by who suggested the route.

    How will we decide as a group which locations we want to visit? Some of you may suggest a site you’ve never been to, but have heard about; others of you might pick a random location; and others still may choose a site that has significance in the history of the city or in your own life – it could be a toxic site or brownfield, a location associated with redlining, a location where city and nature collide, or a site associated with past struggles and difficult histories. It’s up to you.

    Why walk? Walking is an important but often invisible part of art-making – think about the Impressionists, carrying easels and art supplies through meadows and fields to arrive at the perfect spot, the mileage that went into “street photography,” and conceptual art practices that use walking to produce art or produce walking as an artistic medium. Walking has long been a powerful tactic in social justice movements for uniting individuals in common cause and symbolizing the progress that is being fought for. Walking has special resonance today, with the rise of forced or strategic migration, as walking can often be the only way out of traumatic places. We will consider all of these reasons for walking as we shape our walk, together.

    Would you like to be part of this? Please register here (this is free, but registration is required). And please plan to attend a planning meeting on Wednesday, May 1 from 5-7pm to get to know each other, to pick our locations, and to create our list of route prompts.

    Questions? Contact Marisa Brown ([email protected]) or Molly Pailet ([email protected]).

    Untitled (Walking) is part of Jane’s Walk Providence, a weekend-long festival of walking tours organized by volunteers across the city. The program also participates in Year of the City: The Providence Project , a year-long exploration of the history, life and culture of Providence’s 25 neighborhoods through exhibitions, performances, walks, lectures and conferences produced by more than 50 different curators.

Past Events

Panel discussion: the role of philanthropy in public humanities

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room
Elizabeth Francis, PhD (AMST), Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Public Humanities Community Fellow, will moderate a discussion among executive directors of area humanities and arts non-profits about the role of philanthropy in public humanities. Panelists will include Jack Martin, Providence Public Library; Trudy Coxe, The Preservation Society of Newport County; Shauna Duffy, AS220; Tom Parrish, Trinity Repertory Theatre; Peter Mello, Waterfire Providence; David Beauchesne, RI Philharmonic and Music School. 

Panel discussion: the role of philanthropy in public humanities

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room
Elizabeth Francis, PhD (AMST), Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Public Humanities Community Fellow, will moderate a discussion among executive directors of area humanities and arts non-profits about the role of philanthropy in public humanities. Panelists will include Jack Martin, Providence Public Library; Trudy Coxe, The Preservation Society of Newport County; Shauna Duffy, AS220; Tom Parrish, Trinity Repertory Theatre; Peter Mello, Waterfire Providence; David Beauchesne, RI Philharmonic and Music School. 

Exhibiting Rome: Rulers over Land and Seas

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

Southlight in Context

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

How do we build the city? As investment in the public realm declines, what are the possible alternatives to commercial development and public-private partnerships? With these questions as backdrop, Aaron Forrest will present the design and construction of the Southlight project, a performance pavilion and garden built as a partnership between Rhode Island School of Design, the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, and the City of Providence. Aaron will discuss the challenges and successes of the community-engaged design process that led to the project’s construction in 2016.

Newest Americans: Stories from the Global City

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

New Date: Hacking Heritage Unconference

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

Rescheduled from March 2.

What we choose to preserve often tells us more about what we value in the present than it does about our past. That’s why conversations about what to preserve and what to demolish — what to archive and what to throw out — are so fierce. We can’t save everything, can we? So what shall we save? Who gets to make these decisions? How does this effect you, your family, your community, your neighborhood, your city, your state, your country and our world?

Migrant Zero: Caribbean Immigrant Narratives

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

At the Push of a Button: Creative Expression in the Public Sphere of Myanmar

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

Tea Shop is an autonomous, interactive space that has a simple motto (translated into English): “Free to use by all (in cost and content). No red tape, no exclusion, and no power bill (we use solar energy).” Outside the reach of state censure, this in-progress project uses social sculpture to implicitly engage issues of land-use planning, neocolonialism and listening that is specific to the concerns of those in Yangon using it to creatively express themselves.

Hacking Heritage Unconference

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, 305

What we choose to preserve often tells us more about what we value in the present than it does about our past. That’s why conversations about what to preserve and what to demolish — what to archive and what to throw out — are so fierce. We can’t save everything, can we? So what shall we save? Who gets to make these decisions? How does this effect you, your family, your community, your neighborhood, your city, your state, your country and our world?

A Useable Past: Making an Old House Relevant at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room