August 22, 2022 – Providence College (PC), the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (Humanities Council), and other partners are excited to announce the exhibit PORTALES: Reimagining the Future will be on display at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence beginning on September 1 and will be on view through October 9, 2022. The opening reception will take place on September 1 at the WaterFire Arts Center, from 6:00 – 8:00pm.
Eric Sung, photographer and professor of photography at PC, led the project alongside a team of faculty from PC and co-curators Shey Rivera Ríos and Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez.
PORTALES is an art exhibit presenting the variety of ways that artists and organizers in Rhode Island have strengthened our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement against racial injustice. In moments of difficulty, we can see how art can turn into ‘community portals’ that help us envision better futures. The exhibit is a sample of works by RI-based artists who work in various mediums -photography, mixed media, painting, dance, video- and who have a practice of community organizing and/or are in relationship to grassroots community groups that center justice, equity, and access.
This exhibit is the culmination of a broader research project titled ‘Arts for Community Portals’, led by an interdisciplinary team of faculty from Providence College. The research focuses on the power of art, humanities, and culture to connect communities and spark change during the COVID-19 pandemic and is informed by the experiences of some of the exhibiting artists. In the spirit of using art, humanities, and culture to process the pandemic and imagine new futures, the PORTALES group will host a story circle event, supported in part by the Humanities Council, on October 6, from 6-8pm at the WaterFire Arts Center. Registration to participate in the story circle will open later in September, watch the WaterFire website: www.waterfire.org/portales for details.
This project was developed thanks to a $15,000 research grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), matching funds by Providence College’s School of Arts and Sciences as well as support from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (Humanities Council). Additional partners include: Blue Cross & Blue Shield RI, WaterFire Arts Center, and Studio Loba.
“Artists are documentarians and we continue to have done that. I think really at the heart of it, it’s about keeping people excited for what’s next. We have gifts to envision in a different way. And I think our job is really just to share that and invite people into it to help shape it. It’s not just about our vision. It’s about creating space for people to add to a collective vision.” – Anjel Newmann, Artist
“Artists have been encountering difficulty for years, it becomes material for us to create. Artists were challenged but it was rerouted into creativity, artwork, creative response, focusing the energy on policymakers. The arts were functioning as a license for us to do more meaningful work, it was art for arts sake, it gave us the opportunity to come together and do meaningful things.” – Eric Sung, Project Director
“Place keeping projects center more on the memories of the place in our community and start from there…How do we unearth and weave memories together to preserve it and build stronger? It’s not about making a place out of nowhere; it’s building with other people that have been doing work for a long time.” – Shey Rivera Ríos, artist and co-curator
Dates: On view Sep 1 through Oct 9, 2022.
Location: WaterFire Arts Center, Visitors Center Gallery, 475 Valley Street, Providence, RI
Opening Event: Thursday, September 1 from 6:00-8:00pm
Story Circle Event: Thursday, October 6 from 6:00-8:00pm
- Anjel Newmann
- Eric Sung
- Janaya Kizzie
- Jordan Seaberry
- Justin Case
- Marcus Bonnenberg
- Shey Rivera Ríos
- Sokeo Ros
- Vatic Kuumba
Partners: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Providence College, Studio Loba, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Blue Cross & Blue Shield RI, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and WaterFire Arts Center
About Providence College:
Founded in 1917, Providence College is the only college or university in the United States administered by the Dominican Friars and has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 4,100 students. Providence College has ranked first among regional colleges and universities in the North for the last three years according to U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”
About Studio Loba:
Founded in 2021, Studio Loba is a storytelling lab that designs and leads projects at the intersection of arts/culture and social justice.
About the National Endowment for the Arts:
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms, and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.
About the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities:
The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. As the only dedicated source of funding for public humanities in Rhode Island, we are proud to support museums, libraries, historic sites, schools, preservation and historical societies, community and cultural organizations, individual researchers and documentary filmmakers to bring Rhode Island’s stories to life and to amplify the state’s many diverse voices. A private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Council is supported by federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as by individuals, corporations, and foundations. Visit www.rihumanities.org for more information.
About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. Visit www.arts.ri.gov for more information.