Truly Divine: Catching up with Umberto Crenca

Umberto Crenca, one of PVD’s best known artists and the retired cofounder of renowned arts non-profit AS220 took the time to catch up with us about his current series of works, Divine Providence.

Crenca began his new collection of works in early 2020. Divine Providence pays homage to the streets and sights of the city he was born in, has lived in for the past forty years and has so much love for. Though he spent much of his early life living in North Providence, he has many fond memories of PVD as a child. 

“My nonna lived her entire life in Mount Pleasant,” Crenca shares. “As a young boy I was often left with my nonna or my aunt, who also lived in the Mount Pleasant area. I have such awesome memories of walking to the corner store with my nonna, always with a little change to buy myself some candy. It seemed like an epic journey when in fact the store was only a few blocks away.”

He emphasizes his paintings are not just of the city in general, but are on a human scale, meant to depict and honor the perspective of the city’s residents.

“People walk in PVD,” shares Crenca. “These paintings are intended to celebrate and elevate this point of view, to bring value to the ordinary. The density of human scale, forms and structures — the layering of PVD’s built environment — this all inspires me in a completely abstract sense.”

He adds, “Included with the potential of an endless cache of compositions, PVD neighborhoods are living, thriving communities rich with people from different backgrounds and cultures.” 

To date, Crenca has painted 168 works for his Divine Providence series. He aims to complete at least 200 that could then be reassembled as an entire body of work to create a retrospective exhibit in a formal setting. 

For more information about “Divine Providence” including how to visit or purchase artwork, visit