Space and Place: A discussion about Edward Bannister, Digital History, and Disaporic Arts in Providence

April 23, 2014

Mapping Arts Project: Providence maps the city by locating the black artists who worked in the city. It combines digital technology, university archives, and community partnerships to make historical knowledge accessible and interesting.

Keila Davis: Presenting at the Mapping Arts Event on April 16.Keila Davis: Presenting at the Mapping Arts Event on April 16.

It also raises some interesting question and opportunities. Future steps for the project were the topic of a recent conversation at the Public Humanities Center. Dr. Lara Stein Pardo, a post-doctoral fellow at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities, the visionary for the Mapping Arts Project; Beverly Ledbetter, Vice President and General Counsel of the university, a longtime Providence resident and art lover , and president of the Edward Mitchell Bannister society; and Keila Davis, project manager for Mapping Art Project: Providence, and a second year in the Public Humanities MA program, addressed ways to build on the project’s research and digital maps.

The conversation included questions about what role the university should play in promoting and displaying art.. We looked at examples of African disaporic art housed at some of the nation’s top historically black colleges such as Fisk, Howard, and Clark Atlanta University and discussed how their collections could benefit from their own Mapping Arts Project. We considered ways that digital maps might create a network to help the public discover artwork and artists' stories around the country.

Site of Edward Bannister's home: taken on a sunset walk of Mapping Arts sitesSite of Edward Bannister's home: taken on a sunset walk of Mapping Arts sitesOur conversation ended with a discussion of the ways that we could better involve the Providence community in growing the Mapping Arts Project.  Could we map Edward Bannister’s paintings around Providence? Could we provide maps to social studies teachers to use in their classrooms? Might the Edward Mitchell Bannister Society sponsor a community conversation about the mapping project?

A brief sunset walk to Edward Bannister’s home, at 93 Benevolent Street, concluded the event. Thanks to all who participated in the discussion, Happy Mapping!

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