Two Exhibitions Open at Providence Public Library

Providence Public Library (PPL) announces the opening of two new exhibitions this month, which will continue into January 2015.  Visitors are welcome during the Library’s open hours: www.provlib.org/directions-hours.

SALTWATERCOLORS…works of art from PPL’s Nicholson Whaling Collection, will be on exhibit in the Providence Journal Rhode Island Room (1st floor) and in the 3rd floor exhibit cases through early January.

This exhibition showcases art created by whalemen, in most cases onboard American whaling vessels. The success and growth of the whaling trade pushed the whales that remained further and further from New England ports. In order to continue hunting them, whalemen were forced to undertake longer voyages to more distant regions, many lasting multiple years. These extended trips offered greater leisure time, and many whalemen chose to fill that time in artistic pursuits. The results are on display.

“Come Sit a Spell: Memories from a Forgotten Neighborhood” -- an immersive art and oral history installation by The Center for Public Humanities at Brown University and Urban Pond Procession will officially open with a reception on Sunday, November 23 at 2:00 pm.  Visitors to the exhibition are invited to come sit a spell in the immersive art installation, and delve into the history of the former West Elmwood neighborhood through an oral history soundscape of West Elmwoodians sharing their memories.  

The West Elmwood neighborhood once stood where the Huntington Industrial Park stands today, along the Providence/Cranston border. The neighborhood was deemed “blighted” by the Providence Redevelopment Agency in the 1950s and slotted for redevelopment into the industrial park as a way to attract new businesses to Providence. Ultimately, over five hundred homes were demolished. While the neighborhood is gone, memories of a neighborhood still remain. 

These memories have been captured as part of a collaboration between the Center for Public Humanities at Brown University and Urban Pond Procession – a community organization that advocates for the health of urban ponds. While the memories of the West Elmwood neighborhood have been showcased in a variety of other exhibits, this art installation is a special reimagining of the Shadows and Sounds project, created especially for Providence Public Library.

The installation accompanies the formal launch of Story Seekers, a new PPL program in which amateur oral historians capture Rhode Island oral histories to be incorporated into the Library’s Rhode Island Oral History collection. For more information about this new initiative, contact Rhode Island Collection librarian Kate Wells: kwells@provlib.org or 401-455-8028.

 

Enriching minds and lives, Providence Public Library inspires lifelong education and fosters personal fulfillment and enhanced quality of life for an informed, enlightened and engaged citizenry.

 
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