A Still Lively Experiment (Art New England, September/October 2013)

A Still Lively Experiment (Art New England, September/October 2013)

A Still Lively Experiment (Art New England, September/October 2013)

Providence originated as founder Roger Williams’ “lively experiment,” and nearly four centuries later the phrase still fits, especially when applied to the city’s eclectic art gallery scene. Long a beehive for experimentation and innovation, Providence is once again reinventing itself, this time as the “creative capital,” a vigorous nod to its former, if somewhat ill-fitting, nickname as Renaissance City.

For the past generation, the scene thrived in DownCity, where the alternative arts space AS220 became an anchor for an energetic do-it-yourself, try-anything arts community, spawning satellite sites and inspiring similar incubators and collectives throughout the city. In recent years, in the restored mills and factories of Olneyville and in the city of Pawtucket just north of Providence, a new wave of galleries has emerged along with shops, restaurants, coffeehouses, theaters, and live/work artists’ studios. One such location, The Plant at 60 Valley Street, renovated from the ruins of a former paper mill and factories devoted to bleaching, dyeing, and calendaring, includes three relatively new art spaces, all trying to expand the definition of the term “gallery” for modern audiences. … Yellow Peril, one of the most provocative and dynamic new galleries in Providence, is the oldest of the group, having opened in November 2011.

“So many people think of a gallery as the late 20th-century SoHo/Chelsea Art Star model, or…the late 19th-century salon/local group show model,” said Robert P. Stack, curator and co-owner of Yellow Peril (with director Vanphouthon Souvannasane). “We strive to reach out and engage the community by thinking outside of the white box and taking the gallery outside of these four walls.”

Read the full article by Doug Norris in the September/October 2013 issue of Art New England magazine at a newsstand near you. »