ReSeeding the City: Art exhibit explores the interaction between people and nature

Nature in the city embodies the saying “life finds a way,” but the natural world has now found its way right to the heart of Providence: the Rhode Island State House.

ReSeeding the City: Ethnobotany in the Urban is a new art exhibit that will occupy the lower level of the State House. The exhibit explores the tension and interaction between people and the natural world in an urban setting. It features a variety of media, including sculpture and exotic surfaces like paper pulp created from local plant fiber.

“It’s artists in a lot of different media who have been thinking about what we do (and what we don’t do) as they look at nature and the natural world,” says curator Judith Tolnick Champa. “The State House is becoming a gallery.”

Champa believes that the location is particularly suited to this exhibit. “To me, it’s the best state house in the country,” she says. “I think Providence and the whole state — because we are the Ocean State — is way more attuned to what climate is doing for us or against us.”

The exhibit will be launched by a public forum in Brown’s Watson Institute on Saturday, October 26. The all-day event features a diverse array of speakers and presentations, from a Narragansett elder to local herbalists. Attendees can respond and find more details on the forum’s Eventbrite page.

“Art makes visible certain things that sometimes we don’t think about,” says Champa. “I think the takeaway will hopefully be opening our eyes to the real world out there, after confronting what people are doing artistically.”

Both the exhibit and the forum are free to the public. The forum takes place at the RI State House on Oct 26, 9:30am – 5pm. The exhibit runs Oct 27 – Nov 27. For information, go to providencebiennial.com

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