1902-1948: Arshile Gorky

Arshile Gorky was a significant Surrealist painter and a father of the American Abstract Expressionist movement. He was a refugee from Armenia in 1919, where Turkish forces engaged in a mass genocide of the Armenian people. Gorky, originally…

1869-1947: Eva Belle Clemence

Eva Belle Clemence lived and worked in Providence as an independent artist, a difficult space for a woman to find success in early 20th-Century America. Clemence was born in Worcester, Mass., in 1869, but her father Martin was from Rhode Island,…

What’s Hidden Under the Laurentide

Under the Laurentide (granite, water | 2014) Renowned artist and architect Maya Lin is “constantly exploring and revealing aspects of the natural world [such as] places that are hidden beneath the surface of the water…” Lin has always been…

No Label, No Learning: Busts in the John Hay Library

Ann Carter Brown, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Gardner Colby, Albert Harkness, William Shakespeare, Elisha Benjamin Andrews, Julius Caesar! Notice the range of individuals staring down at you. The busts range from historical figures in…

Repainting Tradition: Sayles Hall Portraits

“When we read history, it is merely a record of abstract names.’ - Lord Palmerston Lord Palmerston, one of the early supporters of the National Portrait Gallery, felt that the Gallery would act as a source of inspiration by providing visual…

Charles Dowler House

Charles Dowler was born in Birmingham, England in 1841, and came to America in 1863 to make munitions for the Union effort during the Civil War. After the war ended, Dowler embraced the “American Dream,” deciding to abandon his profession as a…

WaterPlace Park and Waterfire

One acre of water in the four-acre park here today represents a vital part of early Providence history. The water is a reminder of the hundreds of acres of brackish water that covered the area that Roger Williams knew as the Great Salt Cove. Over…

Providence Performing Arts Center

Weybosset Street was alive with excitement as nearly 14,000 people attended the opening of the new 3,100 seat Loew’s State Movie Palace on October 6, 1928 to see the movie “Excess Baggage” on the big screen. Those lucky enough to have seats to the…

AS220

No organization embodies Providence’s moniker, “The Creative Capital”, more than AS220. Founded in 1985, this organization supports artists by providing housing, studio, exhibit, and performance space in downtown Providence. AS220 began in one room…

Trinity Repertory Company

Few theaters can say they’ve housed the evolution of American entertainment like this one. Now home to the Tony Award-winning Trinity Repertory Company, this space has vaudeville roots, showed blockbuster hits, and now wows audiences with live…

Rhode Island School of Design and RISD Museum

The Rhode Island School of Design, most commonly known by its acronym RISD, is an internationally acclaimed leader in art and design education. Established in 1877 by 34 members of the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission, the school embarked…

Providence Art Club

Providence’s tightly-knit community of artists and collectors created the Providence Art Club to congregate, create, and display art. It is the second oldest art club in the country after the Salmagundi Club in New York City. The westernmost of the…

Columbus Theater

At its opening in 1926, the Columbus Theater was touted as “a testimonial to the Italian people.” The late Beaux-Arts theater was built, designed and decorated by Italians: owner Domenic Annotti, architect Oresto DiSaia, and muralist George DeFelice…

The Home of Betsey Metcalf (Demolished)

Is it a stretch to see Benefit Street as a sweatshop for girls of the cultural elite? Probably; but it is interesting to note that in the years that Mary Balch’s School was teaching its young pupils the art of needlepoint, a young girl named Betsey…

Mary Balch's School (Demolished)

Today, needlepoint samplers that were done by students – many of them age 10 and under – at Mary Balch’s School can fetch over $100,000 at Sotheby’s auctions; they fill Pinterest pages and have had starring roles on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow. At its…

God’s Little Acre

“In Memory of Duchess Quamino, A free black of distinguished excellence: Intelligent, Industrious, Affectionate, Honest, and of Exemplary Piety, Who deceased June 4, 1804, aged 65.” Quamino’s weather-worn marker, along with nearly 300 others,…

Liberty Arming the Patriot

He looks surprised to see her but who can blame him? Goddesses do not often descend from the heavens and communicate with humans. The goddess Liberty hands a spear to a young farmer, still holding his plow. Leave your work in the fields! Take up arms…

“God’s Free Gift to Man and Beast”

All across America people ridiculed and smashed Henry D. Cogswell’s fountains, but this one survives in downtown Pawtucket.Cogswell – a dentist, millionaire, and crusader in the temperance movement against alcohol – had not always been a wealthy man.…

From Silver Spoons to Shell Casings

In 1873, an economic depression gripped the country and threatened the future of the Gorham Manufacturing Company. The company’s skilled metalworkers and innovative designers had a reputation for creating quality goods, but none of these things…