Providence has always been a center for art and artists thanks to many prominent art schools located within the city’s borders. These institutions have a long history of producing talented artists such as Francesca Woodman, Jenny Holzer and Seth MacFarlane. People flock from all over the world to attend these esteemed schools; and as a side effect, these young, energetic students have created a local buzz around art and have made exploring art within the city fashionable.
I had the opportuniry this past weekend to check out one of the happening galleries in Downtown Providence.
AS220 is a well-known networked entity in Providence. I call it a networked entity because the AS220 brand has its hands in a little bit of everything downtown. On Empire Street, you can find its restaurant and bar – called As220 Foo(d) and The Bar AS220 respectively. I have not eaten there yet, what do you think of the food?
Connected to this (and only accessible via the restaurant) is the AS220 Main Gallery. There’s always something going on here. I remember last year, during a random stroll down Empire Street, I popped in here with a friend and was treated to a poetry reading of work done by local kids. Once you enter the restaurant, turn left and you’ll see the gallery entrance.
This time though, my friend and I got to experience the bi-annual Print Lottery 2012 fundraiser. Every other year the gallery showcases prominent, upcoming artists from around the globe in a salon style setting.
A salon style showing is when the walls are plastered with art work in no specific order. I find this style to be much more stimulating and more easily accessible to someone like me (an art layman).
Lining the walls of the gallery is 200 prints that will be entered into a lottery on September 29th. 200 tickets will be sold at $100 each, every ticket will win one of the prints from the random drawing.
The artwork subjects, styles and mediums were extremely varied. You would be hard pressed to find something you didn’t think was interesting.
I met up with an up-and-coming, local, Providence artist, Jennifer Almeida, at the gallery. She introduced us to the artwork she had on display and after we finished our rounds of the remaining walls, she offered to give us a behind-the-scenes peak at where the magic takes place.
She took us a short ways over to AS220 Printshop on Washington Street. Jen is an active member of the art community, volunteering at AS220 Printshop as well as teaching classes and was more than happy to show us around the art studio.
Wow was this place cool! It oozed with creativity, from the smell of the machinery to the seemingly random paint splotches in the print exposure room. The print-making machines reminded me of something straight out of an H.G. Wells novel – a big steel frame with all sorts of levers and cranks.
This studio is open to the public; for a modest fee, you are free to use the space for your artistic pursuits. They also offer classes and workshops, year-round, that teach you how to use this equipment and refine your skills.
Providence is a great place to celebrate and discover the visual arts; the next time you’re in town, check out one of its art festivals, exhibits, museums or even take a class. If you want to check out the AS220 Lotto though, you need to act fast – it ends on September 29th.
AS220 Print Lottery 2012: http://as220.org/printlottery2012/
To see more of Jennifer Almeida’s work: