Sculpture on the Lawn: Bristol Art Museum features a walking tour of art

Bristol Art Museum recently unveiled an outdoor exhibit featuring works by artists Michael Cochran, Mike Hansel, Rob Lorenson, Paul Menensis, Matt Noiseux, Derek Riley and Mark Wholey. These works appear along Hope Street in Bristol on the lawns of Colt School, Linden Place and the Bradford-Dimond-Norris House.

Guest curator Rob Lorenson, who organized the exhibit, said, “With the closure of institutions of art as part of social distancing, public art has a role to play in availability. Outdoor sculpture is always available and in spaces that are conducive to social distancing. In this exhibit you don’t even need to get out of your car to enjoy the artwork. Over the duration of the exhibit and multiple encounters – a real relationship with the artwork can form.”

Interested art lovers are invited to view the works by car or by taking a stroll down Hope Street. They will remain on display through Labor Day. For more information, go to bristolartmuseum.org




Annual Exhibit Takes Place at URI This Month

This month, URI, RIC and CCRI are holding their annual Faculty, Student, Alumni and Retired Faculty exhibit. This mixed media 2D and 3D exhibit will be both virtual and actual and highlights the accomplishments of all those involved. More than 70 artists submitted 200 works. 

The gallery is located at the URI Feinstein Providence Campus at 80 Washington St in PVD. It is open Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm. There will be a Gallery Night reception on June 18 from 5 – 9pm. For more information, uri.edu/ceps/prov/arts




East Providence High School Art Show

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The East Providence High School Art Show will live stream its opening on Providence Gallery Night, Thursday, May 21 at 7pm. There will be a link at this location.

If you’d like to invest in any piece of artwork from this show, many are available. Inquire to Jsisti@epschoolsri.com and include the number identifying which piece you’re interested in. Thanks for supporting local artists!

  1. Juliana Dolby – graphite
  2. Juliana Dolby – watercolor / colored pencil
  3. Kendrick Dias – acrylic
  4. Sarina Medeiros – cray-pas
  5. Issac Suarez – cray-pas
  6. Gayatri Buchta – graphite
  7. Isabella Lothrop – Scratchboard
  8. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  9. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  10. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  11. Abigail Worden – pen & ink
  12. Abigail Worden – set of two – pen & ink
  13. Abigail Worden – pen & ink
  14. Abigail Worden – pen & ink
  15. Abigail Worden – set of two – pen & ink
  16. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  17. Mary Penta – Acrylic
  18. Trinity Lussier – watercolor / colored pencil
  19. Trinity Lussier – charcoal
  20. Trinity Lussier – pen and ink
  21. Trinity Lussier – pen and ink
  22. Kendrick Diaz – water color / colored pencil
  23. Kendrick Diaz – pen & ink
  24. Jameson Furtado – watercolor / colored pencil
  25. Jameson Furtado – pen and ink
  26. Issac Price – watercolor / colored pencil
  27. Issac Price – pen & inc
  28. Leila Marte – pen & ink
  29. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  30. Sarah Medeiros – scratchboard
  31. Gayatri Buchta – sp – watercolor / colored pencil
  32. Gayatri Buchta – pen & ink
  33. Gayatri Buchta – watercolor / colored pencil
  34. Paris Martin – cray pas
  35. Paris Martin – acrylic
  36. Juliana Dolby – soft pastel
  37. Iyonna Faria-Tucker – watercolor / colored pencil
  38. Gayatri Buchta – watercolor / colored pencil
  39. Mary Penta – pen & ink
  40. Mary Penta – pen & ink
  41. Jaylenne Ellis – soft pastels

Find a full article here: https://motifri.com/east-providence-high-school-gallery-show-art-students-undeterred-by-quarantine/

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Scandalous Conduct: An exploration of an entrapment scandal in Newport

“The Newport Navy Scandal is something we stumbled on a couple years ago very randomly,” says Matthew Lawrence. He and his partner Jason Tranchida are creating an art project, Scandalous Conduct/Newport 1919, around this remarkable episode in Rhode Island history, which encompassed, as their website declares: “An Episcopal minister. 41 naval
recruits. A zealous newspaper editor. A drag show. A beanstalk. The YMCA. A future president of the United States.”

As the editors of the queer art magazine Headmaster, Lawrence and Tranchida “come across a lot of interesting, underappreciated moments in queer history, so when we found out about the Newport Navy Scandal, we were surprised that we hadn’t heard about it before.” The scandal, as Lawrence describes, involved “an undercover operation, where they get a bunch of sailors who are young and handsome, and basically start a secret mission to go out, entrap other sailors, and then report back on what they’ve done.” The Navy so mishandled the operation that it led to a Senate inquiry that almost derailed the career of then Under Secretary
Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

While largely forgotten today, the story became national news at the time, thanks in large part to John Rathom, the enigmatic former editor of The Providence Journal, who Tranchida describes as a “charismatic huckster.” It was Rathom who “singlehandedly took a homophobic Navy entrapment scheme and turned it into a national scandal.”

Rathom was a national figure at the time. He’d garnered national attention during the war by, as Lawrence says, “publishing a lot of stuff about German spies living in Rhode Island, this elaborate, spy thriller kind of stuff, and he was traveling and doing sold-out speaking engagements.” The problem was that Rathom’s spy stories were made up. When Rathom was
exposed by the Navy in 1917, he “got into an altercation with FDR,” which led to a personal vendetta against the under secretary. Rathom’s incessant coverage of the Newport story became a way to exact revenge on Roosevelt.

For anyone who might long for the simplicity of an era before fake news, Rathom, who lied elaborately about both the news and his life — Lawrence dug up a census form that falsely claimed he was born in Antarctica — is a reminder that such an era never existed.

While most of the Scandalous Conduct/Newport 1919 project is on hold due to COVID-19, Lawrence and Tranchida will present some of their research tonight, Thursday, May 21, in a free virtual talk hosted by the Providence Public Library (7 pm, registration required). The talk is part of the Library’s Exhibition and Program Series “The King Is Dead,” which explores “how we use and understand the news.”

Tranchida and Lawrence are planning other stages of the project that they hope to present in 2021. “There’s a lot of ways to approach this story,” says Lawrence, “from the military side, to the gay rights side, to the weird Rhode Island history side.” There’s even a parallel to the current pandemic, as the story takes place “just as the Spanish influenza was running through Newport.” In addition to an artistic component, Tranchida and Lawrence will put together a panel with scholars they’ve met who are researching different aspects of the story.

You can register for the PPL talk tonight at
provlib.org/calendar/?id=6679052&d=2020-05-21




Writing on the Wall: New East Providence mural celebrates nurses

A new piece of art recently appeared on a wall in East Providence, on the side of the mixed-use industrial building at 89 Valley Street.

Muralist Sam White, along with his assistant Julia Gazzara, completed the mural, titled “Love for Nurses,” on Tuesday, May 19. The piece, which was commissioned by the Valley Street building’s owner, is rendered in White’s signature graphic style and pays tribute to the healthcare workers caring for those battling COVID-19.

White says of the piece, “My heart goes out to all the nurses out there who are putting their own lives on the line day in and day out. God knows, there are many workers who are putting themselves at risk so that society can continue to function through this pandemic, but I feel like the nurses deserve special thanks for the work that they do. As a muralist, I thought there was an opportunity here to be one more voice saying thank you.”

View the piece at 89 Valley Street. For more information, go to samowhite.com




The Skye Is the Limit: Skye Gallery adjusts to life under lockdown

When I visited Skye Gallery on March 7, it was packed – people spilling out onto the sidewalk, voices bubbling and music throbbing inside the brightly lit reception for DIVINE 2020. On April 29, Jonny and I faced each other across a white table in the back room, masks in place while keeping a careful social distance. The opening seemed like a memory from another world. I asked this Providence gallery owner how the pandemic had gone down at Skye.

Jonny Skye: I was closely monitoring online; every day there was a new unfolding. We’d had that very well-attended opening on March 7; even then, a couple of concerned people wore gloves and stayed outside. This gave me pause. By March 12, when Mayor Elorza declared a state of emergency and the city stopped issuing entertainment licenses, I knew I had to cancel all events. By March 28, Governor Raimondo said all non-essential businesses must close. Everyone was staying inside by that point anyway.

Cathren Housley (Motif): Did you have a plan in place for adjusting to the new restrictions?

JS: I did not have a plan. I am still making it up as I go. There is no solid ground in this dilemma we face. Being flexible and paying attention to all the information available is daily work; it has taken some time to sort through what makes sense business wise for the gallery. 

CH: RI has really stepped up to help the people of the state. What was available for sole proprietors like you? 

JS: I applied for over eight grants and supports. As soon as I saw something go up, I dropped everything and applied. The Artist Relief Fund (RISCA, RI Foundation, Providence Dept of Art, Culture and Tourism, and the Alliance for Artist Communities) responded first and really gave me a bolt of confidence that I wasn’t going to lose the gallery. Soon after, the money through the RI Dept. of Labor and Training for small businesses also came through. The other grants I applied for I haven’t heard from yet. I really need to find grants, as my business model is commission based – I don’t have assets to borrow against.

CH: What other responsibilities and problems have you had to take on because of the pandemic shutdown?  

JS: There is too much to say here. I am responsible for supporting the health and optimism of the artists I work with – ongoing conversations, sending opportunity links, writing and submitting on their behalf, and generally sharing woes and hopes. The gallery is not just a business, it is a support system for many people; I do consulting with local businesses outside of the gallery as well. I am a mother of four grown children who are navigating the situation independently, yet need varying degrees of support. For me, and most others, providing emotional and tangible support to family and friends, along with the daily worry of infection, has added a lot of extra responsibility.

CH: So, how do you do business with all that going on, when people are being hit with a global crisis like this one? 

JS: I felt morally conflicted. How could I promote art sales when people were anxious, sick, dying, hungry and housing insecure, when the scaffolding of everyday life was being taken away? I know art is critical to humanity, but I couldn’t reconcile it in my heart. When the idea of virtual openings was pushed by folks, I couldn’t reconcile that for the gallery either. I see art objects as talismans, not just images. They hold the spirit of the artists who poured themselves into their creation. ­Being able to gather at events and opening celebrations were key marketing and community building efforts of the gallery. So I’ve had to let my thoughts and feelings unfold, along with all this new input, to find the right mix of respect for people and art that aligned with the mission of the gallery, and the reason I am doing this anyway.  

CH: How do you keep going in the meantime?

JS: I was heartened by some early success from the DIVINE 2020 exhibition – mostly friendly neighbors who wanted to ensure the gallery would remain and were also excited to acquire a new piece of art while supporting an artist and a giving positive boost to their creative confidence. This energy has waned in the past month or so, but luckily, the added supports I mentioned earlier are allowing me to cover the basics of rent and utilities and give me room to imagine and build the framework for a new business model. I want to capitalize on the need of folks for intimacy and a sensory experience with art, as it connects us with humanity. I have decided to hang shows in the front of the gallery through the end of the year so people can clearly view new work from the sidewalk. I will operate by appointment, encouraging patrons to come safely one or two at a time, experience the work, enjoy conversation and check out our back room stock. I have built a new scheduling function into the website, skye-gallery.com, as well added more work to the website. I will continue my IG and FB promotion and add new initiatives as the days unfold, to stay relative to what’s going on.

CH: What do you think the biggest disadvantages to lockdown are? And do you see anything positive coming out of it?

JS: The negatives are the anxiety, fear, separation, dying alone, mourning alone and the seeding of more distrust.

At the same time, we have been given the gift of slowing down – the earth gets a breath and we get a breath. There is an opportunity in this for each of us to reflect on the meaning of our lives and the ways our patterns aligned or didn’t align to what truly matters to each of us. It’s a short trip our spirits get to take in the human body. Taking the time to see who we are outside of work hustle and consumption is good for our culture and the collective energy of the planet.

CH: Any parting thoughts?

JS: I am supremely grateful that Skye Gallery is important to this community. I am committed to the artists and patrons who value it and will continue to ensure its relevance so that it can continue to uplift and help us see a way forward with respect for life and our culture.

Skye Gallery will present new paintings by Brett Cimino, on view beginning Saturday, May 23, 2020. INTERTWINED, the current show featuring the work of Nepalese artist Ragini Upadhayay Grela (see story at motifri.com/ragini-upadhyay-grela) will continue to be available for view and purchase at skye-gallery.com, along with the works of other artists. You can schedule a visit to 381 Broadway in Providence at skye-gallery.com; Skye Gallery can always be reached at skyegallery@gmail.com and 401-481-4480, and be sure to follow@skye_gallery  




A Moment with an Artist: Skye Gallery presents a unique opportunity with Nepalese artist Ragini Upadhyay Grela

The work of Ragini Upadhyay Grela, a Nepalese artist and a printmaker, is currently showing at Skye Gallery in Providence. Grela’s work revolves around religious tolerance and women’s space in Nepali society and depict the need for peace, love and compassion. Her work is deeply emotional, shown by her use of bold and aggressive lines and colors, and speaks to the human degradation of the natural world through pollution and technology.

Grela intended to travel to Providence with her work, but was unable to do so because of the pandemic. Instead, Skye Gallery has created what it’s calling a type of “speed dating” event. Interested art lovers can book a 15-minute visit with the artist to see her work and ask questions of her via video from her home in Nepal. Bridgewater State College anthropology professor Diana Fox also will be present to provide context.

Virtual visits will be held between 10am and noon on Saturday, May 16. To schedule your 15 minutes with the artist, email skyegallery@gmail.com with your preferred time. For more information, go to facebook.com/events/242832897029004




The Preservation and Education of Art: Justin Bibee on building and sharing art collections

Justin D. Bibee is currently a PhD student at Durban University of Technology in peacebuilding and is a human rights advocate. A Cranston native, Bibee was nominated for the Peace Corps book award. Bibee spent time in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Morocco for two years and has since explored many different regions. During these travels, Bibee has collected and catalogued art in hopes of preserving and sharing it with the general public. The collection can be seen online or in person on display in Vermont. Here is what Bibee had to say:

Amanda Grafe: Can you talk about what you are currently doing in the art world and how you got started in that?

Justin Bibee: I would have to say that my interest in art started with my interest in human rights. Studying human rights in college I was introduced to new cultures and that sparked my curiosity. That curious exploration of cultures has never faded for me. I’ve been very fortunate — however incommodious it may be at times — to work in a field that allows me to travel. As a human rights advocate, I often go on assignments for months and even years at a time. Moreover, my work takes me to some remote places. This is definitely an advantage in collecting art. From the moment I left the United States I have been captivated by the places I’ve visited and the people I’ve met. My favorite aspect of collecting ethnographic art is exploring and discovering the culture behind it.

AG: What has been the public reception to what you are doing?

JB: Earlier this year I began reaching out to local libraries and schools to see if they might be interested in displaying some art pieces from my collection for educational purposes. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all exhibitions will be postponed. But I have created an online gallery where all the pieces from my collection can be viewed. 

AG: Where are some of the places you traveled to acquire some of this art?

JB: Most recently I traveled to Tanzania where I was conducting research for the United Nations. I worked with Burundian and Congolese refugees in Tanzania’s refugee camps. The refugees made beautiful art and sold it within the camps. I acquired pottery, jewelry and fabrics to support them, and these pieces are now part of my collection. In March I was to travel to Durban, South Africa to conduct more research and I was looking forward to discovering some art along the way. However, that trip was postponed due to the pandemic. Right now, I’ve been keeping my eye on some online auctions. Just this past week I acquired an Igala Idoma standing female figure from Nigeria, and I have my eye on a few other pieces. 

AG: What has your success been so far? Who or what has benefited most from this project?

JB: I’ve probably benefited the most by finally having my art organized! With my work I’m often forced to store my entire life and move to another country. I had art stored at my parents’ house, in storage, in my basement, in my closet. I’ve gathered all these pieces together for the collection. This has allowed me to appreciate each piece again. Throughout my travels, I’ve left pieces of my heart here and there; looking at the art is very nostalgic for me. Also, the people’s whose art it is and the cultures that these pieces come from are able to be introduced to the public, which is great and the purpose of the project.  

AG: Where do you see your project in a year? How about five years? How do you hope it will help shape the art world?

JB: The Justin Bibee Collection is a very modest project. To begin, I hope to display some of the art I’ve collected in local libraries and schools for cultural awareness and educational purposes. In the future, I would love to host exhibitions and galleries to share the art. I hope the pieces in my collection will spark curiosity about the world’s cultures and contribute to cultural awareness and understanding. 

AG: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

JB: I just want to say that I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe during these unusual times.

To view the collection and learn about the project please visit: bibeecollection.weebly.com and justinbibee.weebly.com.




East Providence High School Gallery Show: Art students undeterred by quarantine

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It was not supposed to be the last day of school, but suddenly it was and Jade Sisti had to act fast. Sisti had planned a gallery night for her East Providence High School art students. It was kind of a big deal, an opportunity for the students to hang their work in three real local galleries and to have the experience of being part of a professional show. Except school was ending, months before the show was to happen and with little warning.

“I’d had a bad feeling about how things were going to go in February,” Sisti says, “so I pushed them to get their artwork in, even though it was two months early.” Sisti remembers the last day had a siege-like vibe – but for artists. “Students were running to the classroom between other classes, getting their work in as the announcements were telling them to go home. I took all the work with me in my car, which prevented it from getting trapped in the soon-to-be-locked-up school.”

Sisti has been teaching at East Providence High School for more than 10 years and runs the art club, which teaches students the business side of selling and showing art. Sisti has had some of her own success in the arts, particularly with her “red series,” which made it on episode one of “Undercover Boss.” However, Sisti’s inspiration has always been her pupils. “Building a student’s confidence in their art and own ability is no easy task, and to watch them achieve this over time is an experience I don’t think I could put into words.” So, when coronavirus hit, it seemed like all the achievements her students had worked toward throughout the school year would be cut short.

Sisti, who instills in her students that they can’t always get what they want in art (eg, types of paper, fancy supplies) and must work with what they have, took that same mindset and used it to make it work for her students. Her quick thinking and the generous support – post quarantine – of local gallery Sprout Co-Working have enabled the students to still have their day before the end of the year, although it will be a very different kind of gallery opening, one for the age of digital events and social distancing. “For my students, understand that being a part of a gallery show is a great triumph. It’s a testament to their dedication and countless hours spent on their art. They’ve worked all year to achieve this goal.” 

Students from intro to art, intermediate art and art club from East Providence High School are all being featured in the show, which includes more than 20 student artists. Kendrick Dias, a junior in intermediate art class, says he uses art as a way to release emotions rather than hold them inside. For Dias, this outlet may have been stunted if it wasn’t for Sisti’s quick thinking. “You are doing great,” Dias says of Sisti. It seems that Dias’ sentiments are shared by the whole class, all of whom look forward to sharing their art with the world. 

The show will be livestreamed on May 21. Find the link at motifri.com/ephsgallery




East Providence High School Art Show

View The Live Stream

The East Providence High School Art Show will live stream its opening on Providence Gallery Night, Thursday, May 21 at 7pm. There will be a link at this location.

If you’d like to invest in any piece of artwork from this show, many are available. Inquire to Jsisti@epschoolsri.com and include the number identifying which piece you’re interested in. Thanks for supporting local artists!

  1. Juliana Dolby – graphite
  2. Juliana Dolby – watercolor / colored pencil
  3. Kendrick Dias – acrylic
  4. Sarina Medeiros – cray-pas
  5. Issac Suarez – cray-pas
  6. Gayatri Buchta – graphite
  7. Isabella Lothrop – Scratchboard
  8. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  9. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  10. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  11. Abigail Worden – pen & ink
  12. Abigail Worden – set of two – pen & ink
  13. Abigail Worden – pen & ink
  14. Abigail Worden – pen & ink
  15. Abigail Worden – set of two – pen & ink
  16. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  17. Mary Penta – Acrylic
  18. Trinity Lussier – watercolor / colored pencil
  19. Trinity Lussier – charcoal
  20. Trinity Lussier – pen and ink
  21. Trinity Lussier – pen and ink
  22. Jaylenne Ellis – water color / colored pencil
  23. Kendrick Diaz – pen & ink
  24. Jameson Furtado – watercolor / colored pencil
  25. Jameson Furtado – pen and ink
  26. Issac Price – watercolor / colored pencil
  27. Issac Price – pen & inc
  28. Leila Marte – pen & ink
  29. Abigail Worden – acrylic
  30. Sarah Medeiros – scratchboard
  31. Gayatri Buchta – sp – watercolor / colored pencil
  32. Gayatri Buchta – pen & ink
  33. Gayatri Buchta – watercolor / colored pencil
  34. Paris Martin – cray pas
  35. Paris Martin – acrylic
  36. Juliana Dolby – soft pastel
  37. Iyonna Faria-Tucker – watercolor / colored pencil
  38. Gayatri Buchta – watercolor / colored pencil
  39. Mary Penta – pen & ink
  40. Mary Penta – pen & ink
  41. Jaylenne Ellis – soft pastels

Find a full article here: https://motifri.com/east-providence-high-school-gallery-show-art-students-undeterred-by-quarantine/

View The Live Stream