David Winton Bell Gallery

Past Events

Thursday, November 17, 2022

José Torres-Tama is a published poet and playwright, journalist and photographer, renegade scholar and arts educator, visual and performance artist, cultural activist and Artistic Director of ArteFuturo Productions in New Orleans. Torres-Tama will perform his solo satirical work, ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS AND OTHER EVIL DOERS at Brown on Thursday, November 17 at 7pm and Friday, November 18 at 7pm in Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. Both performances are free and open to the public.

ALIENS is a sci-fi Latino noir genre-bending performance that is visually dynamic, profoundly moving, hilariously absurd, and challenges the anti-immigrant hysteria gripping the United States of AMNESIA. The work draws upon oral histories with immigrants recruited to rebuild New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and José's own story of crossing the border. In addition to the work's stunning artistry, it is an important catalyst for powerful conversations about labor, law, immigration, and community. 

These performances are part of the Sawyer Seminar "Rethinking the Dynamic Interplay of Migration, Race, and Ethnicity in the Caribbean and Latin America." The performances are sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and The Department of Africana Studies/Rites and Reason Theatre, and are affiliated with Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

Written and performed by José Torres-Tama
Thursday, November 17, 2022, 7pm
Friday, November 18, 2022, 7pm
Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
154 Angell Street, Providence, RI
Free and open to the public

Location Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
Wednesday, November 9, 2022

What happens when Mama goes to jail?

Artist and illustrator Bianca Diaz will discuss her career and most recent book, See You Soon (written by New York Times best-selling author Mariame Kaba), a poignant, beautifully illustrated children’s book about a little girl named Queenie who worries when her Mama gets sick and goes to jail. Will Mama have a warm bed to sleep in? Will she get better? Can love bridge the distance between them?

Join Bianca Diaz, Mariahdessa Ekere Tallie (award-winning children’s book author and Brown doctoral student), and Africana Studies assistant professor Lisa Biggs for an important and engaging conversation about storytelling, art, and healing, followed by a book signing. Free and open to the public.

Bianca Diaz is a Mexican American artist and children’s book illustrator from Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Bianca received her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, and a MA in Creative Process from the National University of Ireland in 2015.

Sponsored by the John Hay Library, Brown Arts Institute, and the Department of Africana Studies / Rites and Reason Theatre at Brown University.

Free and open to the public. This program takes place in the Lownes Room* in the John Hay Library, 20 Propsect Street. See the [email protected] listing here.

*The Lownes Room is located on the second floor, up two flights of stairs. Please contact [email protected] if you will need elevator access, which requires staff accompaniment. Please reach out to Lizette as far in advance of the event as possible for this or any other accommodations that will enable you to attend and enjoy the event. Thank you.

Location Lownes Room, John Hay Library
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The Department of Visual Art at Brown University presents a talk by Sable Elyse Smith. Sable Elyse Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator based in New York. Using video, sculpture, photography, and text, she points to the carceral, the personal, the political, and the quotidian to speak about a violence that is largely unseen, and potentially imperceptible. 

Her work has been featured at MoMA Ps1, New Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, JTT gallery and numerous others. Smith has received awards from Creative Capital, Fine Arts Work Center, the Queens Museum, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, the Franklin Furnace Fund, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and Art Matters. She is currently Assistant Professor of Visual Art at Columbia University.

Two works by Smith are currently on view in Cohen Gallery in the exhibition Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, through December 18, 2022.

Free and open to the public. This program takes place in Room 120 in the List Art Center, 64 College Street. Register here.

Location List Art Center, Room 120
Thursday, October 27, 2022

How does mass incarceration affect Rhode Island? How are local organizations working to address human harm and conflict? Join Africana Studies Assistant Professor Lisa Biggs for a frank discussion with local artists and activists about the state of policing, prisons, and human wellbeing in Rhode Island. Panelists include local artists John Barnes and Leonard Jefferson, Nick Horton from OpenDoors, and Raquel Baker from the Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women.*

Free and open to the public. This program takes place in Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, 154 Angell Street. See the [email protected] listing here.

About the panelists:

Raquel Baker coordinates the Providence, Rhode Island office of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women. With the Council, she works to end the criminal legal system's forced separation of women and girls from their communities and loved ones through hyper-local organizing, public awareness education, movement lawyering, and the national #FreeHer Campaign. A mother of two, born and raised in Rhode Island, Raquel's activism is shaped by her personal experiences, including with the state juvenile "justice," foster care, and probation systems. In addition to her work with the Council, she is a medical marijuana advocate, and an active member of Just Leadership USA, Reclaim RI, and the Formerly Incarcerated Union.* 

John Barnes is a God-fearing person who believes in the Heavenly Father. He was born in Boston, MA, and was raised there and in Rhode Island. He is a husband, father, and grandfather who currently works in fire protection and as a musician in the music ministry at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Providence. He was truly blessed to have been contacted by former President Barack Obama, who changed his life for the better. Mr. Barnes and his loved ones are forever grateful. God does not make mistakes no matter how impossible it may seem (Numbers 23:9). 

Nick Horton is the Co-Executive Director of OpenDoors, the first and largest organization in the state dedicated to supporting people that have been in prison.  OpenDoors works with over 500 people a year and operates 80 beds of prison reentry housing, an employment program including a trucking social entrepreneur company, and a Reentry Resource Center. OpenDoors also leads campaigns to reform the RI law enforcement system, including the successful Right to Vote campaign of 2006 that returned the right to vote to over 15,000 RI's on probation and parole, probation reform legislation, court debt reform, marijuana decriminalization and now the Stop Torture RI campaign to end solitary confinement. The agency is largely staffed and led by people that have overcome past incarceration, and as a person without previous experience of incarceration Mr. Horton works in collaboration with the leadership team and staff to help push Rhode Island to invest in people not prisons.  Mr. Horton has worked at OpenDoors since graduating from Brown University in 2004.

Leonard C. Jefferson is a great-grandfather, Vietnam war veteran, and self-taught illustrator, painter, sculptor, poet, and musician who survived 37 years behind walls. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, he spent a significant part of his childhood in Longview, a small city east of Dallas, TX. Growing up under Jim Crow, he explains, “the absence of depictions of Black people” prompted him to make work that would “fill this racist, cultural void.” From early on, his mother, a church pianist, encouraged his passion. Today, his paintings draw inspiration from his experiences and observations of everyday life, as well as from Black history, current events, popular media, and nature photography. Like the trailblazers who ignited the Black Arts Movement (approx.1965-1975), Mr. Jefferson considers his work to be a practice of personal and cultural liberation. His paintings do more than depict his experiences. They portray the beauty and complexity of Black life, and stage radical critiques of American society and the practice of law enforcement. Mr. Jefferson currently lives and works in Rhode Island.

Dr. Lisa Biggs is an actor, playwright, and performance studies scholar originally from the Southside of Chicago. A former member of the Living Stage Theatre Company, she has appeared in productions at the Kennedy Center, Lookingglass Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, the African Continuum Theatre, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, and many more. In addition, she has toured her original theatre/dance works across the U.S., including productions at Links Hall, DC Arts Center, Baltimore Theatre Project, the National Black Theatre Festival, NY Hip Hop Theatre Fest, and Cultural Odyssey. Her most recent play, After/Life, premiered in Detroit in 2017 in conjunction with citywide events marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion. At Brown, Dr. Biggs currently serves as the John Atwater and Diana Nelson Assistant Professor of the Arts and Africana Studies. Her forthcoming book, The Healing Stage: Black Women, Incarceration, and the Art of Transformation, is a combined ethnography and history of four theatre programs for women incarcerated in the U.S. and in South Africa that use theatre to encourage individual, community, institutional, and cultural healing. 

Update as of October 26, 2022: Raquel Baker will no longer be participating in this program.

Location Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Brown Arts Institute presents an exclusive preview of Spiz, a documentary about the life and work of artist Dean Gillispie. Gillispie’s sculptures are currently on view at the Bell Gallery in Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Following the screening, Gillispie will discuss his practice with curator Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood.

Dean Gillispie grew up in southwest Ohio. As a child, he enjoyed building miniatures and train sets, what he calls tinkering. When he was 24, he was convicted and sentenced for crimes he did not commit. He spent 20 years in prison before being released through the advocacy of his parents and the Ohio Innocence Project. While incarcerated, he created dozens of elaborate miniatures using materials he scavenged inside. He is now on the board of the Ohio Innocence Project and volunteers to help other formerly incarcerated people re-enter communities.

Free and open to the public. This event takes place at the Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, located at 154 Angell Street.

Location Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
Saturday, September 17, 2022

Join Marking Time artists Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter, Mark Loughney, and Jared Owens in the Bell Gallery as they discuss their artworks. Enjoy refreshments, a scavenger hunt, and giveaways! 

Brown University abides by public health guidance and health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Guests must comply with all University policies and protocols in place at the time of the event. Visit healthy.brown.edu for current policies.

Location Bell Gallery, List Art Center
Friday, September 16, 2022

Join us for an opening reception for Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Food and refreshments will be provided. Free and open to the public.

The reception will take place on the lawn of the List Art Center from 7:00–9:00pm. Click here for directions. Both the Bell and Cohen Galleries will be open to visitors.

Brown University abides by public health guidance and health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Guests must comply with all University policies and protocols in place at the time of the event. Visit healthy.brown.edu for current policies.

Location List Art Center
Friday, September 16, 2022

Artists Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter, Mark Loughney, and Jared Owens will be in conversation with curator Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood. Free and open to the public. 

This event takes place at the Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at 154 Angell Street, Providence, RI. Click here for directions.

Brown University abides by public health guidance and health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Guests must comply with all University policies and protocols in place at the time of the event. Visit healthy.brown.edu for current policies.

Location Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
Friday, April 29, 2022

Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected] is presented in conjunction with the major symposium Inheritance organized by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University. Inspired by the conversations that have taken place in response to the historic wallpaper Vues d’Amérique du Nord (Views of North America)—originally printed in 1834 by Zuber et Cie in France—in the center’s Nightingale-Brown House building, the symposium is scheduled April 27 - 30, 2022 and culminates in a public reception and celebration of iPOVi at the Bell on the evening of April 29th.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Join us Friday, September 24th at 6pm for a conversation between current Bell artists Harry Gould Harvey IV and Faith Wilding and William Blake scholar and RISD Professor Alexander Gourlay. The event will be held inside our List Auditorium. The Bell and List Lobby galleries will have extended viewing hours that day through 8pm. Masks are required both indoors and outdoors at all times.

Friends, collaborators, and intergenerational activists whose practices both enrich and reflect one another in their Bell exhibition Arrows of Desire, Harry Gould Harvey IV and Faith Wilding have emerged from the pandemic in a state of mutual reverence. Hinged by their shared devotion to William Blake (1757-1827), a gravitational force that has been overt throughout both careers, Wilding and Harvey embrace the apocalyptic language and imagery of the Romantic writer and artist, whose illustrated poem Milton (1804-1811) titles the show. Installed in the Bell are solo and collaborative works, including a series of ten archival images of Wilding’s radical feminist performances from the 1970s and 1980s, enlarged and enframed by Harvey in intricately carved wood. 

Alexander Gourlay has been studying, writing, and teaching about British literature and art, especially William Blake, for more than 40 years. He hopes to be able to understand Blake's Jerusalem someday. He is particularly interested in the intersection of visual and verbal in literary illustration. When he was hired in 1991 by the Rhode Island School of Design, he felt like a frog that had been kissed—still a frog, but happier.  

Harry Gould Harvey IV is an artist and curator whose practices are embedded in community and social justice. His work is featured in Soft Water Hard Stone, the 2021 New Museum Triennial, New York, and he has had numerous exhibitions at Bureau, New York and at national and international spaces including Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA (2018) and GRIN, Providence (2016). In 2020 Harvey and his wife, artist Brittni Ann Harvey, founded the Fall River Museum of Contemporary Art (FR MOCA) on the first floor of the historic Granite Mills textile mill. Previously, his roving curatorial platform Pretty Days, co-founded with Gregory Kalliche, produced projects in Providence and Miami, FL.

Faith Wilding is a renowned feminist artist, writer, and educator who is currently a Visiting Scholar at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. For over four decades her work has remained at the intersections of feminism, social justice, cyberfeminism, biotechnology, radical pedagogy, and eco-feminism. Wilding co-initiated the Feminist Art Programs at California State University, Fresno, and CalArts, Los Angeles in the early 1970s, and was a founding member of the feminist art movement in Southern California. Her work was the subject of the retrospective Faith Wilding’s Fearful Symmetries organized by Threewalls, Chicago in 2014 which traveled to multiple venues. 

Moderated by Kate Kraczon, Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator, Brown Arts Institute / David Winton Bell Gallery.

Brown University abides by public health guidance and health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Event attendees, including visitors and guests, must comply with all University policies and protocols in place at the time of the event, including current University policy regarding face masks and coverings (see the University’s COVID-19 Campus Activity Status page for the current policy for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals).

Sunday, July 18, 2021

On Sunday, July 18th artist Savannah Knoop will be joined by ritualist Elana June Margolis to mark the physical and spiritual closing of Knoop’s exhibition Soothing the Seams at the Bell. Margolis will situate this ritual within the heart-map provided by the Jewish calendar: July 18th, 2021 is also the 9th of the month of Av in the year 5781 AKA Tisha b'Av, a day set aside to honor the collective broken heart through grief ritual. Participants are encouraged to bring a candle, some fabric to rip/tear, a bowl of water, paper, and something to write with.

While acknowledging that the pandemic is ongoing, this collective ritual marks the official end date of the exhibition and allows for closure to Knoop’s process and by extension acknowledges the trauma, challenges, and other closures that the pandemic has brought into all of our lives. Participants will be invited both to witness and to step into active, intimate engagement with multiple grief technologies, creating space for personal healing towards collective liberation.

Elana June Margolis is a Queer Jewish teacher, writer, ritualist and performing artist. Her life's work is dedicated to liberating texts and ritual/pedagogical technologies towards access, relevance, and healing in service of collective liberation. Elana June has been making and playing with Knoop for fifteen years; she is honored and excited to continue the antics and plunge the depths with her beloved co-conspirator.

Savannah Knoop is an artist and educator working in film, sculpture, writing, and performance. They have exhibited and performed at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Movement Research, and Leslie Lohman Museum, New York. Their solo exhibition Savannah Knoop: Soothing the Seams closes at the Bell Gallery at Brown University on July 18th.

Register HERE to attend this virtual event live.

Location Online
Friday, April 10, 2020


Katherine Solomonson, Professor University of Minnesota
Who was the winner? Hood, Howells and the Chicago Tribune Tower Competition

Isabelle Gournay, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park
An American in Paris: Raymond Hood and the Ecole des Beaux Arts

Location List Art Auditorium and Bell Gallery