PPL’s annual Creative Fellowship, founded in 2014, provides an opportunity for a local artist to create new work based upon, utilizing, or inspired by materials in and images from our Special Collections.
The Creative Fellowship lasts 6-8 months, coinciding in topic and timing with the Library’s annual exhibition and program series. Each year’s fellowship focuses on artists working in a specified discipline, rotating between visual art, performance, writing, and music/sound on a four-year cycle.
The fellow receives a stipend, funds to help cover the cost of project materials, and intensive research support.
We are not currently accepting proposals. The call for proposals is posted annually in mid-August.
Research and Outreach Librarian for Special Collections
2023 Creative Fellow: J.R. Uretsky
J.R. Uretsky (she/they) is a Providence-based artist who weaves performance, video, puppetry, and sculpture into emotionally charged, affective artworks that shift seamlessly between autobiography and fiction. Performing under their moniker, J.R. and the Worship Band, Uretsky draws on worship practices and rituals used by western evangelical churches to create musical performances that turn trauma into strange and positive collective experiences.
Past Creative Fellows
Carmen Ribaudo (2021-2022) created a collage movie entitled We Are Full (we are the sun we are the moon we are naked we eat fish we dance we are so here) that was projected on the wall of the exhibition gallery, along with a risograph, fold-out comic book distributed to exhibition visitors. Carmen documented her research at PPL and at Queer.Archive.Work via an interactive digital reading room.
Kelly Eriksen Perez (2020) created an interactive sound installation in the newly-renovated library. Her research and artist's talk focused on conversation, mapping soundscapes, and collecting audio from our surroundings.
Laura Brown-Lavoie (2019) created a chapbook of new poetry about fossil fuels, colonialism, and Providence's industrial waterfront. She also hosted an Earth Day ritual with other local musicians and writers.
Becci Davis (2018) created a three-part, outdoor performance about Black hair entitled “Private Proclamations” and performed it on the Library’s Washington Street steps as part of PVDFest. She also developed an interactive art performance called “Beacon Beauty Shop” and gave an artist’s talk about her research process.
Keri King (2017) created a full-color, 8’x8’ mural of an al fresco dinner party using analog and digital collage techniques. Her mural incorporated scanned images from our collections and remains on permanent display at the Library. Keri also hosted a collage workshop for youth and adults.
Walker Mettling (2016) created a series of articulated paper characters and an oversized, full-color comics newspaper (Providence Sunday Wipeout #2), the latter of which incorporated his own research-based illustrations as well as comics from numerous other local artists. He also put together an evening of readings and performance called “A History of Future Bummers.”
Micah Salkind (2015), our inaugural Creative Fellow, worked with the Fiske Harris Collection of Civil War song sheets to extend the history of anti-racist anthems into the Civil War era. He wrote an issue of the Special Collections publication “Occasional Nuggets” on the racial types used in the woodblock printing of broadsheets published by New York's Henry Marsan Publishers, and his father printed and sewed the issues’ covers.