National Ceramics Conference Lands in Providence

The Cate Charles Gallery on South Main Street — the combo efforts of mother-daughter duo Kim Charles and Catherine Schrage — offers up something unique this week in its “Porcelain in Three” ceramics exhibition. The gallery usually features paintings or sculptures, but opted for a porcelain ceramics display including works from Susan Schulz, Seth Rainville and John Oles. This no doubt makes the gallery a prominent stop in this week’s The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference hitting Providence from March 25 – 28.

cate charles

NCECA (pronounced en-see-kuh) works to cultivate new generations of ceramics artists by inspiring people at all levels of the artistic process, whether in working with the artists themselves or by fostering the greater art collecting community. Providence plays host to the NCECA’s 49th annual conference with the theme “Lively Experiments.” In addition to conference programming at the RI Convention Center, dozens of galleries across the state — just like the Cate Charles Gallery — will be included on guided bus and shuttle tours.

“Artists that we’ve talked to said to expect people in the thousands coming in for the conference,” said Catherine Schrage, the Cate Charles Gallery Press & Marketing Manager. “It’s a big deal on the national level. We’re very excited!” According to Schrage, NCECA draws massive crowds not only of enthusiasts, but collectors as well. At Cate Charles and many other galleries, all the work will be on sale at a 50/50 split between artist and gallery.

The Cate Charles Gallery’s exhibition “Porcelain in Three” featured three artists with distinct styles. Susan Schulz recreates objects both natural and manmade down to the intricate detail to produce assortments of objects so lifelike in some cases that you think you’re looking at shells or coral covered in dust.

One woman’s trash is another woman’s artistic inspiration.

Seth Rainville’s pieces are intricately detailed yet 100% usable bowls and teapots, one of which included a few tiny porcelain chairs he encourages exhibition attendees to move around.

A perfect landing place for your keys, wallet, and spare change? Or a work of art? How about both?

John Oles’ work included a whole section of porcelain meets stone, featuring small structures of contrast and balance in assorted positions. Among the most compelling was a piece aptly titled “Balance.”

The aptly titled “Balance”.

The NCECA conference runs through March 28. Take a look at the following links for more information:

Featuring The Creatures That Dwell Within The Minds Of Creatives

Fantastical creatures come alive

Five months ago the staff at The Avenue Concept, home to the Avenue Gallery, wondered about the fictional creatures that come alive in the imagination and art of their fellow creatives. They wanted this version of their ongoing series of exhibits to take us beyond the 2D approach of street art that they have represented so well.


Co-organizers, Jenny Young and Chrissy Wolpert, wanted to feature fantastical creatures that come alive, that in a 3D way grab your attention by coming off the wall or that could wrap themselves around you. They knew of some such creatures that had escaped the artists’ minds and now existed in the art studios of local friends, so they gathered a creative collective of seven such examples.

Their mission for Creature Feature, “was to reveal a collection of representational characters found near and far, over and under, large and small, real and totally unreal that live in our minds, hearts and souls; and created by Providence artists.”

The show opened June 21, but the 38 pieces in the collection will continue on display within the Avenue Gallery through August 1st.

Ray Almstrom’s  longtime passion for the waterways of Rhode Island and his love of fishing have long affected his art. Over the years his creatures have shown distortion of form that might come from his concern over how man through pollution has impacted the physical world of the river habitat. His work is represented in a dozen character forms, and his fish/lobster creature guarded the paint counter on opening night and kept the DJ company.

Nick Guilbert’s “Mask” transformed him into one of his own creations, the Mask, which he wore briefly, was a fine example of a program he teaches at Avenue Concept, when not busy painting some of the best local murals.

Alicia Uth deals with living, breathing creatures all day long in The Met Center arts program she runs in an adjacent classroom to the gallery. She receives inspiration while watching life transformations. Here her art in mediums of ink, marker and graphite watch you, the creatures’ eyes follow you as you pass by.

Josh Yelle of Pencil Mancer, has long captivated imaginations with intriguing images that go beyond the word creature. For this showing, he took it a step further than just his fine pencil, chalk and paper creations. He sculpted his “Quadoclous Tritopus” and brought it to glowing life. Stages of the work presented in his online social media pages follow its development.

The gallery was invaded by seven of the 3D creatures that have grown in size with Michael Guadagni’s exploration of what can be created from scraps of fabric that receive layers of screen printing and embroidered activity before being sewn together. The largest of these works, “Vile Mockery,” hangs from the ceiling. Michael informed us that when these creatures are not away invading gallery type spaces, that they take over his couch at home. One “Skin of a Dimensional Beast” gives evidence to the hours of preparation involved.

Next time you open a pizza box beware, says Kendra Plumley. Therein lies the “Pizza Reaper” as represented by her sculpture that beckons you from the wall. Other mixed media works are less threatening, but just as fun for their imagination and creative blend of characters.

The pen and ink works of Nori Swennes-Croce present her creature expressions, normally captured in doodles on another level. At least one of them is threatening to swallow the wild world whole. Beyond the world of drawing or writing, talented Nori has been seen hanging out with those ladies from Chifferobe Atelier.

An expansive “exquisite corpse” mural, painted on the exterior walls of the Avenue Concept’s building at 304 Lockwood Street, was made in collaboration by the artists represented in Creature Feature. Not all of the artists had used the medium of spray paint; for some this was a new opportunity. They took on the challenge, each creating a panel representational of their style of art and for some like Alicia Uth, the work came together quickly. Michael simply started with green circles and had fun exploring this medium. Ray captured one of his creations in an art form he is well familiar with as a muralist and painter.

While visiting these creatures that for the next month will live by feeding on those who dare to enter, remember that The Avenue Concept, when it is not presenting creatures that escape from the minds of artists, produces integrated public arts programming that fosters social, community, and artistic development.

For more information about The Avenue Concept and future events please visit theavenueconcept.com or facebook.com/theavenueconcept

48 Hours of Filmmaking Madness

48 Hour Film Festival Comes to Providence

For months you’ve been getting your team ready, and then you get the assignment: a genre, a prop, a line of dialogue and a character. Now you’ve got just 48 hours to make a movie!


It’s going to be an intense, sleepless, caffeine-driven madhouse of creativity and chaos. But that is what makes The 48 Hour Film Project so awesome!

For Melinda Rainsberger, city producer for Providence, it’s a passion and a challenge that she’s loved for the last eight years. “It’s the most intense 48 hours of my life every year!” she tells me.

For the ninth year, the Rhode Island Film Collaborative (RIFC) will run Providence’s chapter of The 48. RIFC president, Anthony Ambrosino, said, “The amount of hard work and creativity that goes into one 48-hour period is staggering. We’re proud to give local filmmakers this opportunity to showcase their talents in the spirit of friendly artistic competition.”

This is no rinky-dink film festival; The 48 spans 130 cities on six continents, from San Diego to Taipei. Winning films from local contests compete for the international title of Best Film of the 2014 48 Hour Film Project. Cash prizes and bragging rights are also awarded. Winners of The Providence 48 will compete in New England’s ITVFest, and the winner of that will receive $1,000. Other prizes for local winners include gift certificates, studio time at Kay Studios, acting lessons with LDI Casting Director Anne Mulhall and tix to the SENE Film Festival. Nationally, winners will get $5,000 and a whole host of bonuses including screenings of their films in venerated venues such as Filmapalooza, South by Southwest and Cannes.

But there’s more than just money or prizes involved. Some contestants started their own production companies, some found their calling as actors or directors, and some simply managed to get out of their comfort zones and try something truly amazing — instead of just talking about being creative, The 48 gives them the chance to be creative.

“When you’re spontaneous, it shows how creative you can be,” Melinda says, “especially under such a tight deadline.”

Registration is available until Friday, July 11. Visit 48hourfilm.com/en/providence for details and registration information. Providence’s best films will be screened at Cinemaworld in Lincoln on July 15th through 17th.

Lunar Notes: Your July Horoscope

July Lunar Notes

lunarNotesSLIDEAries: What started off as all fun, games and romance evolves into serious conversation with your nearest and dearest. It gets really serious, digging into deep psychological stuff. Money and issues of security push the buttons of all concerned. By mid-month the air is cleared and it is time to get out and enjoy.

Taurus: This is a very busy time with a lot of traveling around both near and far. You’re bubbling over with new ideas and new plans for the future. You put some effort into organizing your work space and refining your daily routine. Romance, invitations and socializing pop up in your own back yard and at month end, you’re happy at home.

Gemini: It’s all about money — what you’re worth and what you consider “worth it.” Hard work and shouldering responsibilities pay off this month. Romance heats up while friends throw a monkey wrench into anything resembling a routine. Your natural flexibility comes in handy now as you roll with it all and land on your feet.

Cancer: You’re into remodeling — yourself, your space and your routine. You’ve learned a lot over the past year and now you want to apply that knowledge and make some changes. Finances improve and your social life picks up steam as your popularity increases. Don’t let anyone toss a wet blanket on your fun. Enjoy!

Leo: Leo’s going full throttle, clearing the decks to prepare for the next big adventure. Be ready mid-month when lucky Jupiter enters your sign. Be prepared for new beginnings, new ideas and a broadening perspective. This is the beginning of a 12-year cycle. Jupiter will be with you for a year or so, so be ready for opportunities.

Virgo: A lot of Virgo’s social life is work-related this month. Use this opportunity to fine tune your network and have some serious conversation with fun-loving friends. Don’t let surprises on the money front throw you for a loop. Get your Virgo on and analyze the situation. Watch out for a love interest who is a bit controlling.

Libra: You’re ready for and finally able to take action after months of delay and revision. Now you know where you’re heading, what you want and how to get there. No one is going to hold you back. With all this action going on, don’t forget to take some time to socialize, relax and have some fun with friends.

Scorpio: Although you are tied down with responsibility, that doesn’t prevent you from making grand, large plans for the future. Your hard work pays off over the next year and you will receive the recognition you deserve. You’ll be living large, but be careful to keep an eye on expenditures. Some unexpected expense cramps the budget.

Sagittarius: Sagittarius shucks the usual free-wheeling, carefree attitude to delve into the deep, inner landscape. Looking into those depths reveals some hidden talents. Allow them to bubble to the surface. This month begins a year of discovery for you. How much of yourself and your “stuff” do you want to share?

Capricorn: Events move fast for you this month. Friends, co-workers and assorted significant others speak, listen, act and react. Capricorn does the same. You like a solid foundation, but these days you feel like you are standing on shifting sands. Old and loyal friends come through for you when you need it the most.

Aquarius: Trying to get organized and sticking to the program is an impossible task this month. Unexpected, unusual and unheard of events, news and situations disrupt your days and throw you off balance.  Something hidden is revealed. You may not like what you find out. Blow your own horn; don’t let anyone try and take credit for your work.

Pisces: You’re into sporting events, romantic interludes and any activity that releases your inner child and lets him/her out to play. This is a great month for fun. Don’t let the fun and games get ahead of you, though. As the month draws to an end, don’t be caught short of cash. Fun and games cost money. Spend what you can afford.

Summer in the City

What to do when the Rhode Island heat gets you down

10492533_10152508372169712_7050950148635490993_nFor the average Rhode Islander, summer generally consists of longingly staring out the window at work, braving beach traffic (has this term been recognized by the dictionary yet?), or hiding from the heat wherever air conditioning exists. I understand — the heat mirage that radiates off of the Providence skyline is a bit disconcerting. Breathe, we’re here to help.

For the Summer Vacation Warriors

If you’re a parent, nanny or a poor soul who gets stuck with some

one else’s child for no monetary compensation, chances are that by July you’re running out of cheap things to do with the kids on summer vacation, likely getting a little weepy at the thought of hauling children, two coolers and 10 pounds of sand toys to the beach (I’m starting to sound like Kim Kinzie). Don’t let the Xbox tempt you. Bring the gang over to the India Point Park playground.

Nestled under shady trees alongside the breezy bay, this maritime-themed playground has the classic swings and slides accompanied by one small, one rather large and one massive set of geometric climbing ropes and nets. These interactive pieces of architecture are home to a series of obstacles, bridges and hammocks suitable for small children or energetic 12-year-olds.

India St., Providence

Cool Off … Locally

There comes a point in the summer when you start saying to yourself, “To hell with fun in the sun, I’m damn hot.” I know what you’re thinking. But please … say no to the mall. And please, for the love of all that is sane, don’t spend any more money on another Transformers movie. Get your air-conditioned cinematic kicks at The Avon on Thayer or The Cable Car on South Main Street. Both of these Providence staples screen award-winning indie flicks seven days a week. Keep an eye on The Cable Car’s schedule for special events and screenings of local films.

The Avon, 270 Thayer St., Providence, avoncinema.com

The Cable Car, 204 South Main St., Providence, cablecarcinema.com

Go Culture Yourself

It’s not any sort of best kept secret in town — Providence is home to the RISD Museum. You’ve seen billboards, you know it’s got the giant Buddha statue, and it likely never comes up as an option on the Saturday morning, “I don’t know, what do you want to do today,” conversation,  but when was the last time you actually went? The summer’s feature exhibit focuses on the freakish glamour of the 19th and early 20th century circuses. Bask in yet more air conditioning and get lost (possibly literally, but there are maps) in visual stimulation.

If you 1) have a short attention span, 2) want to peep some locally grown art, or 3) prefer your art with a side of wine and cheese, Providence Gallery Night is for you. Hop on the free gallery shuttle and cruise to a set of participating studios and galleries around the city. Choose between six different guided tours or visit any of the 26 participating galleries by foot on your own.

RISD Museum, 224 Benefit St., Providence, risdmuseum.org

Gallery Night shuttle stop, 1 Regency Plaza, Providence, gallerynight.org

Boozing, Cruising

My go-to summertime weekend, “I’m bored, it’s 3pm, there’s no way I’m actually going to the gym today,” activity is heading to a bar with a deck on the water and grabbing a cocktail in the sun. And if said bar has a boat docked outside, and if you can take said cocktail onto this boat and take a scenic tour of the Providence River. does it get much better? This exists. The Providence Riverboat Company is the only one of its kind on the river and leaves from The Hot Club daily. The riverboat tour is a slow cruise from the storm barriers to the basin of the Providence river and back again for a perspective most locals have never seen before. And the mini history lesson is interesting regardless of whether you’ve finished your drink. Hang on the Hot Club’s newly renovated deck with a drink, and bring it onto the boat when it’s time to set sail. Bon Voyage.

Tours leave from The Hot Club, 575 South Water St., Providence, providenceriverboat.com

Go For a Posh Dip

Lounge on a plush chair beside the pool and cabana bar  surrounded by greenery, escaping the harsh city concrete. This isn’t a scene out of “Sex and the City.” Actually, I’m fairly certain this exact scene did occur in “Sex and the City.” This could be you. This really exists downtown. AQUA Marriott is the city’s only poolside lounge. Stop by for a drink or get real elegant with it for the afternoon in a private cabana, perusing the cigar and cognac menu. PS: Salsa dance party every Thursday night. Andale!

AQUA at the Providence Marriott, 1 Orms St., Providence, marriottprovidence.com/aqua

Local and National Poets Slam the Mic at AS220

By Despina Durand and Khrysta Ryan


Thursday June 19 the Providence Poetry Slam held an open mic night at AS220 including members from the youth team  as well as new poets stepping up to the mic for the first time. Although this was not an actual slam, the mic was open to not only poets but musicians as well. A traditional slam consists of an elimination competition of poets based on scores from the audience. Instead, this week, artists signed up ahead of the show, with poets getting 3-4 minutes, and musicians getting 8 minutes of stage time.

Judging by the audience’s cheers, the open mic was host to quite a few poetry slam regulars. The artists presented poetry, hip hop music, a hoedown, and pieces that bridged the gap between spoken word and song. The diversity of the night broke the boundaries of what preconceived notions many people may have about slams. With poets of all sizes, gender and race the audience was able to hear from the full gamut of today’s  American. Each poet brought their personal experience to life with relatable metaphors and analogies.


The show featured New York slam poet, Tonya Ingram, and Pennsylvania musician, Kevin Garrett. Ingram, who was born inCincinnati, grew up in the Bronx and attended NYU. She now resides in Los Angeles where she is working towards a Public Practice MFA at the Otis College of Art and Design. Her poetry focussed on her experiences ranging from being diagnosed with Lupus and growing in the Bronx. The range of subject matter is not meant to disturb the audience but to educate them. Ingram speaks from her heart creating a way to use her voice in speaking out about the issues at hand rather than sugar coating an experience.

The Providence Poetry Slam is built and expanded on a set of values which its participants hold very high. The host Laura Brown-Lavoie spoke of respect, safety, diversity, truth and the importance of support of one another.Though the room was filled with regulars, newcomers were welcomed with open arms.

The Providence Poetry Slam not only has a youth group but also holds a creative writing workshop every month. Poetry slams and open mic nights are held every 1st and 3rd thursday of each month, year around at AS220, Providence.


TOP: Vatic performs a poem, part spoken word, part song. (Photo by Despina Durand)
Botton: Tonya Ingram and Kevin Garrett perform. (Photo by Despina Durand)



Books on the Square Supports Community and Local Talent Alike

Books on the Square welcomes home local author Hester Kaplan

by Melanie Rainone

Books on the Square has been a Providence staple for over 20 years. Located on Wayland Square, they offer a large selection of new and used books, as well as a book club, story hour for children, and book readings. As a part of their June line-up of authors, Books on the Square welcomed local author Hester Kaplan for the inaugural reading of her new collection of stories, Unravished.

IMG_1386Kaplan expresses positive feelings toward not only Providence, but also the bookstore in which she now stands. “Books on the Square has always been great with local readings, it’s very supportive of local authors.” For Books on the Square, the feeling is mutual. “We do tend to support local authors,” said the organizer of the reading, “Here in Rhode Island the local connection is of greater importance.”

The store serves as an integral part of the community, an importance that is evident in the familial atmosphere. “The store is part of a larger community. A place where we know our customers and they know us. Aside from book events, the local neighborhood association holds its meetings at the store. They support candidate debates at election time, using our space. The store is part of and partners with the Wayland Square Association to promote Wayland Square with numerous activities throughout the year,” said the organizer.

Kaplan’s reading was only one of the many events happening at the store during the month of June, but it proved to be a popular one, no doubt a result of its local flavor. Everyone walking into the store knew each other, brought together not only in support of Kaplan as an author and community member, but of a familiarity with Books on the Square. People meandered around like it was a friend’s home rather than a bookstore. One woman, clutching her plastic cup of wine from the refreshment table in one hand and a copy of Kaplan’s book in the other, said, “There are people I don’t know here,” sounding perplexed.

A group of patrons talked about how crowded it typically gets on the nights of readings such as this, and how they purposely got there early because the last time it had been a struggle to find a seat. They were IMG_1385soon proven right. Seats filled quickly and more had to be brought out.

The reading began, and proved to be far from formal. Kaplan began by saying, “I’m going to stand, not because I’m authoritative, but because the sun is in my eyes.” This elicited a laugh from the crowd, the first of many to be heard throughout the night.

Kaplan read one of the four stories from her new book, “The School of Politics.” The story is set, as Kaplan put it, in “No medium sized city in particular.” Again, laughter ensues.

For anyone not from the area, sitting in the audience of a reading of “The School of Politics” would have seemed like sitting through a prolonged inside joke, but, for Rhode Islanders, it was a reminder of many jokes that they had once laughed at together as a community.

When asked what made her choose her hometown as the setting, Kaplan said, “It’s an irresistible cast of characters – colorful.”




PVD Lady Project empowers in style with their Summer Guide

by Despina Durand

Men get the run of most professional spaces. But Providence knows that men are not the only ones exploring new ventures and ideas in the professional world. And the PVD Lady Project is here to prove it.

The Lady Project started in 2012 when local business women Sierra Barter and Julie Sygiel, then 24 and 25, decided that professional women in Rhode Island needed a space to get together.

The Lady Project kicked off their Summer Gift Guide (here) with a party at the Providence Marriott Downtown, poolside, with drinks, nibbles, and a crowd of well-dressed women from all walks of life.

The Summer Guide’s main spread featured Lady Project members.
“The goal was to showcase women doing amazing things, what Lady Project already does,” said art director Mihaela Hinayon. She, along with GoLocalProv’s Kate Nagel, Craftland’s Kristin Crane, and photographer Brittanny Taylor spoke as part of a 3×3.
A 3×3 at the Lady Project invites three women from different backgrounds, to talk for three minutes, on a topic. In keeping with the summer theme, the ladies were asked to talk about their favorite things to do in Rhode Island in the summer. The suggestions ranged from hikes and picnics to making the rounds of the Providence bars. Crane’s list of “food, wine, outdoors” was a hit.
The guide showcases a couple of businesses run by Lady Project members, as well as articles, in addition to the gift guide and a list of summer suggestions from Lady Project members.

In the words of PVD Lady Project’s Communication and PR manager, Piya Sarawgi, the Lady Project is an opportunity for women, especially young women who might not have a professional direction yet, to meet with other women who are pursuing their goals, professionally and otherwise.

In a state as small as Rhode Island it can feel like one has met everyone already.
“Every event I meet someone and I ask, ‘How did I not know you?’” Barter said.
Most new faces, she explained, come on the recommendation of a friend, coworker, or boss.
The goal is to get passionate and creative women together and help them form connections, both as interpersonally and professionally.
“You realize you’re not alone in what you’re doing,” she said.

One of the more gratifying experiences for Barter is when the Lady Project connects people in a professional way. Because the Lady Project is volunteer based, they can’t pay the people who work for them. So when someone asks her, “Do you know anyone who does this?” and she can hook someone up with a paying gig, it is a rush.

The Lady Project is expanding beyond the bounds of little Rhody, this year chapters opened in Boston and in New Haven. At the Summer Gift Guide celebration Barter announced that new chapters were preparing to open in Nashua, NH, and New York City. Though the network is growing, the larger non-profit, Lady Project.org, will keep its home in the Ocean State.

“I like it because it’s a self-selecting group of women,” said social media intern Natalie Shay, who, as a student at Johnson and Wales, met Barter in the university’s communications office, “Everyone there is interesting, because everyone wants to be there.”

Barter’s advice for women of all ages, looking to break out of their current job, or into a new one is to start before you’re ready.
“You’re never going to have a good age to do it. You’re never too young or too old.”

PVD Lady Project will be hosting an “Active Night” at the Barrington Pilates & studio 47 on June 26 to benefit Girls on the Run RI. More here.

Photo by Brittanny Taylor.

Local Beach Reads — Read ‘Em With Us!

Exeter Girls

 Books to get you through the summer

I’m not sure if I’m more amazed that time seems to pass so quickly or if everyone else says the same thing. Maybe the internet takeover has sped up the Earth’s rotation around the sun, but we’re too busy Googling images of otters doing adorable things to notice. It would be nice if this summer would be spent a little less plugged in, but I know that isn’t going to happen. I’m even predicting a plethora of iPads and other tablets at the beach, used more for video games and creepily taking pictures of coeds showing off their beach bodies. For those of you who want to use your tablets at the beach to read an actual story (or dare I say read the physical book), I created a little idea guide of local authors.

I decided to do something a little different for this article, and write about books I plan to read this summer. Included in each brief description is my prediction of how I’ll feel about the book. I’ll review these books for future Motif articles so you can compare my predictions to my actual opinion after I read the book.

Jason Carpenter — Exeter Girls: Letters From a Feeble Minded School

Synopsis: Personal letters from three female inmates portray their lives while in Rhode Island’s Institution for the Feeble-Minded (Ladd School). Exeter Girls exposes what social services were like in those days.

Prediction: This will be an eye-opening look at how women were viewed and treated during the early 20th century, with more than a few stories that will make me cringe. I expect to read this and be happy to be living in these times.

Bruce DeSilva — Providence Rag

Synopsis: This is a work of fiction loosely based on the Craig Price murders, which terrified Rhode Islanders many years ago. Investigative reporter Liam Mulligan tries to learn about gruesome murders that would be straight out of a horror movie. Caught and soon to be released because he was a juvenile when the crime was committed, people are in fear that he will kill again. Mason, another reporter, feels he should be released.

Prediction: Even though this isn’t completely based on the Craig Price case, I will think of it when reading this. That story was fascinating, and I can’t see this dramatized version being any different.

Richard Galli — Rescuing Jeffrey

Synopsis: While diving at a July 4 party, Jeffrey hits his head and suffers a spinal cord injury that leaves him paralyzed from the neck down. This becomes the story of how the family adjusts to a new lifestyle.

Prediction: I expect to read this book and be inspired. No family has it easy, but suffering such a drastic lifestyle change can be crippling, and it takes a strong family to get through these hurdles. I see myself thinking about how quickly life can change, and will probably pay more attention to my surroundings for a bit.

Hard Luck

Synopsis: This is a collection of 10 stories that deal with people going through hard times and they define Murphy’s Law. This anthology was put out by Burnt Offerings Books, headed by Scott LeFebvre (writer of Condemned).

Prediction: There will be at least one story I fall in love with and one I can barely get through. I can’t wait to read about the predicaments the characters get themselves into. I am hoping for real life situations that are relatable, but I’m expecting a few stories that just get weird.

Stephen Porter — Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant

Synopsis: A 17-year-old man from Southie gets accepted to a prestigious college, only to learn dark secrets about his post-mob family. He now has to put all this in perspective and save his family.

Prediction: While I like mob movies, I’ve never read a book based on the mob. This seems to have a family aspect to it as well, though I’m thinking it won’t be as wholesome as it is in my mind.

Sviokla III — From Harvard to Hell — and Back

Synopsis: This is a typical “Behind the Music” boy makes it big, boy finds drugs, boy loves drugs, drugs consume boy, boy recovers and makes something of himself story. The only difference is that Mr. Sviokla is a doctor to the stars.

Prediction: I’m a big fan of stories like this. Addiction is a fascinating thing, and I enjoy reading redemption stories. Add in the “doctor to the stars,” and this book should have me reading eagerly.

While there were many other books I had on my list, I laboriously narrowed it down to these six. If you want a bonus book that is a perfect beach read distraction, I suggest Searching for Rhode Island by Dawn Porter, which features over 20 puzzles that teach about Rhode Island.

Hummel Spotlight: The Name Is Outdated, but the Services Are Not

One of Rhode Island’s Oldest Independent Charities

On a Saturday morning in April, a committee of half a dozen people gathered to decide how more than $100,000 will be spread to three dozen agencies in the Providence area. They are today’s stewards for one of Rhode Island’s oldest independent charities: The Providence Shelter for Colored Children (yes, you read that correctly), which has withstood periodic efforts to change its name since the organization was founded in 1838.

“The name actually struck me as really odd, but I was intrigued,’’ said Linda Cline, the group’s current president. Not only did the name pique her curiosity, but so did the fact that there is no shelter building. That was closed in 1940 and the assets were converted into a foundation. The name, though, and the group’s goals remain steadfast 70 years after the doors closed: financial support for children of color.

“There are so many organizations that need financial assistance in order to thrive, in order to be viable,’’ Cline said. “We’re still servicing African-American children in the Greater Providence area and we have not strayed from that mission.”

Mary Lima has been on the board for more than three decades and knew children who lived at the shelter before it closed in 1940. “It’s quite an interesting history in terms of the role they played because there was no other facility, state or otherwise, that provided a shelter for the colored — black — children at that time. Families needed this kind of assistance, particularly because the women were single parents and worked as domestic workers or maids in homes throughout Providence, particularly on the East Side.’’

The shelter was founded by a group of middle-class white women living on the East Side in 1938 that included the granddaughter of leading anti-slavery activist Moses Brown.

It was housed at 403 North Main Street the first decade, before moving over to the lower end of Wickenden Street. For nearly a century, though, the shelter was located in a building on Olive Street, in what is now the heart of the Brown University campus.

Connie Worthington is a past shelter president and knows much of the organization’s rich history. “The shelter was a place where parents who were working at the houses on College Hill could board their children because the kids weren’t welcome.’’

Elayne Walker-Cabral’s mother, Betty Walker, at the age of 10 lived in the shelter with her siblings after Betty’s mother fled from an abusive husband. Betty Walker later served on the board and died four years ago at the age of 74.

“My mom was insistent as the oldest of six children — she was about 10 at the time — that the siblings stay together,’’ said Walker-Cabral. “So somehow the shelter was responsible for them being placed with a minster and his wife who cared for them until my mother got married.”

Changes in child welfare policies in the 20th century meant a dwindling number of children in the shelter, which ultimately closed its doors.

Since then the organization has transitioned into a charitable foundation. In the 1950s and ‘60s it gave relatively large sums to a handful of organizations, including the Urban League of Rhode Island, The Mount Hope Day Care Center on the East Side and the John Hope Settlement House.

In 1970, the focus shifted and now the shelter annually funds a variety of organizations and schools, including Community Music Works, Crossroads Rhode Island, Sophia Academy and the San Miguel School.
This year a total of $112,000 went to 36 agencies in amounts ranging from $500 to $6,500.

Mary Lima says the organization has had periodic discussions about keeping, or changing, its name. “As we bring new board members on who don’t have the full history of the board, that’s generally when those discussions will come up. A new board member may wonder why we are the shelter for colored children.”

Worthington said, “We refer to children of color in this day and age, so it’s not so impossible. But I think the main thing is that its historic. It’s 175 years old. It’s been the name that long and I think anytime an organization changes its name, it’s tough.”

Walker-Cabral at one point confronted her mother about it. “I remember saying to my mom when she first went on the board, ‘I think you should make some kind of proclamation that they should change the name from colored children to African-American or black children.’ Having gone to college in the South, I was very militant. And she said, ‘They would never do that because that is who they served: colored children.’ And they didn’t make a distinction between black and African-American and Cape Verdean and other immigrant people.”

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