The Alternative to Comic Con

Rhode Island Comic Con isn’t the only comic convention going on this month. On Friday, November 10, Providence Community Library will be hosting Alternative Comic Con at Olneyville Library. Its intent is to be a smaller, more local celebration of the local arts and comic scene in Providence. “It’s an event we want to use to bring the community together,” says event organizer and library manager Sarah Gluck. “We want to provide access to comic con events and access to the local arts community.” The event is free and family friendly. The idea is to offer an option to those who find themselves priced out of RI Comic Con or don’t find it family friendly.

This is Alternative Comic Con’s second year. Last year it was held at the Mt. Pleasant Branch, as Olneyville had flooded. It was a success, having more than 100 people in attendance, and a similar turnout is expected this year. The lineup will include favorites like Big Nazo, who will be showing off their creature creations, as well as fellow artists Jeremy Ferris (who created the event’s poster), children’s book illustrator (and Motif contributor) Cathren Housley, and print-maker and Dirt Palace artist Olivia Horvath. Dirt Palace is a feminist collective formed in 2000, when they renovated a then-abandoned library on Olneyville Square by themselves. The collective provides a studio and living space for women artists, striving for a public arts and intersectional presence in Providence.

Providence’s own The Boardroom, a collective of board game enthusiasts who run events for people who like to play more than just Monopoly and Clue, has donated a number of games for people to play. People have also been donating comics to the library, so event attendees can get one free comic as long as supplies last. Providence Roller Derby Girls will be rolling in with button making. Providence City Arts for Youth, a community arts organization dedicated to bringing arts to the kids in the city, also will be on hand providing an animation workshop. The Providence Comics Consortium will be offering lessons on screen printing and group drawing. They teach comics and sequential art to kids and teenagers through the Providence library system.

“This event is for people of all ages, and anyone excited about comics,” says Gluck. As it’s gotten bigger, RI Comic Con has veered away from a local flavor, and begun to price some people out of enjoying it. “We’re really grateful for the local arts organizations; we couldn’t do it with them. We want to provide an open space and forum for people to celebrate and connect with their local arts community.”

Alternative Comic Con will be happening at Olneyville Public Library at 1 Olneyville Square from 2 – 6pm on Friday, November 10.

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