Art In City Life Commission Public Art In PVD

Mission of the commission: 

The Art in City Life Commission, established in 2016 under Mayor Jorge Elorza, was formed to create standardized policies and procedures for public art, monuments, memorials, and markers on publicly held land and set guidelines for private developers. The Commission will also award grants to public artists on qualifying City projects.

Qualifiers for appointees:

Shall be composed of 9 members from the following constituencies in Providence: independent working artists, art organizations and affiliations, universities and colleges, the private sector. Each appointee will serve a 2 year term aside from the initial appointees which 5 of will serve a 2 year term and 4 will serve a 1 year term.  For more information on the terms, please CLICK HERE.

Art In City Life Commission as of September 2017

Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor – Artist, Art in City Life Commission Vice-Chair (two year term)
Dominic Molon – RISD Museum, Curator of Contemporary Art (one year term)
Eric Telfort – RISD Illustration Department Faculty, Art in City Life Commission Chair (two year term)
Howard Ben Tre – Designer (one year term)
Jessica Brown – Designer, Artist (one year term)
Joe Haskett – Union Studios (two year term)
Kate Blacklock – Artist (one year term)
Van Souvannasane – Yellow Peril, Gallery Director (two year term)
Xander Marro – Co-Founder of The Dirt Palace (two year term)

Commissioner Biographies

Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor, Vice-Chair
Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor is an art aficionado, a hip hop head, a connoisseur of culture and a student of style. He hails from Boston, Massachusetts and visited upon the illustrious city of Providence for college. He instantly fell deeply in love with the colonial architecture and quaint aura of college hill and the surrounding areas. Subsequently after graduating from Brown, Aiyah couldn’t fathom departing from the Creative Capital and thus committed to staying in Providence and supporting the city in reaching its great potential as it pertains to its art, culture and socioeconomic development. Aiyah is a proud Millennial and brings to the committee a wide perspective based on his personal journey and experiences as well as his connection to the Providence community through his work within it and commitment to serving the people, especially our youth.

Dominic Molon
Dominic Molon joined the RISD Museum (Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design), Providence, Rhode Island) as its Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art in September 2013.  He previously served as the Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) St. Louis (2010-2013) and as Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago (1994-2010).  Molon has organized exhibitions of such prominent living artists as Martin Boyce, Liam Gillick, Sharon Lockhart, Steve McQueen, Jack Pierson, Pipilotti Rist, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Gillian Wearing—often presenting their work for the first time in America or in a solo capacity at an American museum.  He has also curated numerous thematic exhibitions including “Production Site: The Artist’s Studio Inside-Out” (2010), and “Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967” (2007) (both MCA.)  He has also been published and made numerous public presentations internationally.

Eric Telfort, Chair
Eric Telfort was born to Haitian immigrants in Little Haiti, Miami, FL. He followed a long and tumultuous path before earning his BFA in illustration from RISD and his MFA in drawing, painting and sculpture from the New York Academy of Art. Telfort has lectured throughout the northeastern US and internationally – in Zimbabwe, where he was a 2010 VIA Artist in Residence – and creates work exploring the concept of creativity in poverty. He currently lives in Rhode Island, where he teaches drawing and digital illustration at RISD.

Howard  Ben Tré
Howard Ben Tré is internationally recognized for his unique sculptures and large-scale works of art for public and private spaces. Ben Tré is a pioneer in the use of cast glass as a sculptural medium and his work is included in more than 101 museum and public collections worldwide, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice.  Howard Ben Tré was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1949. He received a B.S.A. from Portland State University in 1978 and a M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980. He is a three-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a three-time recipient of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship. His achievements in the visual arts were recognized by the First Annual Pell Awards for Excellence in the Arts (1996), the Artist Award of Distinction by the National Council of Art Administrators (2005), and the Aileen Osborn Webb Award (2006). His public art has been recognized with awards by the Providence Preservation Society for Urban Design (1998), the British Council for Shopping Centres for Town Centre Environment (2002), and the Royal Town Planning Institute for Best Urban Design Project (2002). Ben Tré currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown holds an MID from the RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she specialized in sustainable design. An all-around Renaissance woman, Jessica is a designer, painter, furniture maker and finish carpenter, whose talents include the ability work with a multitude of materials, including wood, metal, plastics, textiles, and clay. She has additionally taken on small commercial projects and her own work has been showcased by HGTV’s Vern Yip, published in Crit Magazine and featured in a permanent collection in Milwaukee Art Museum. She is also extremely personable, witty, quick spoken and decidedly local- the ideal person to show you low-cost ways to improve the space around your by using things you already have at home. In her nonexistent free time, Jessica plays trumpet in a guerrilla style street marching band and watches re-runs of Designing Women…constantly.

Joe Haskett
Joe has over 16 years of architectural experience which includes the adaptive re-use of historic buildings, market-rate and affordable multi-family housing, pre-fabricated building design, commercial buildings and private residences. Prior to joining Union Studio in 2012, Joe was the founding principal of distill studio, a Providence-based architectural firm with a focus on sustainable building science and integrated design process. He has received international recognition for the architectural design of Providence’s award-winning Box Office, a commercial office building constructed from recycled shipping containers. Joe is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Interior Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, a board member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), and an active member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the National Passive House Alliance (PHAUS). He is a registered architect in Rhode Island and a LEED Accredited Professional. Joe is also the first Certified Passive House Consultant registered in the State of Rhode Island. Joe received his Master of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and his Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Ohio State University.

Kate Blacklock
Kate Blacklock is a Providence based artist who received her undergraduate degree from University of California at Santa Cruz and her MFA from The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island College and for nine years co-chaired the Ceramics Department at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where she was Associate Professor. She has been teaching in the Industrial Design Department at RISD since 2002. Blacklock’s studio work has moved from sculptural and functional ceramics to 3D printing, photography and painting.  She has had solo exhibitions around the country including, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence and Ann Arbor. Her photographic imagery has been used in many large scale commercial projects including hotels in Florida, New York City, San Diego and recently in the country of Bahrain. In 1996 she was an artist-in-residence at the Manufacture National de Sèvres, outside of Paris.  Her works are in many private and public collections.

Vanphouthon Souvannasane
Van Souvannasane is the Owner and Director of the Yellow Peril Gallery in Olneyville, Providence as well as the Social Media Marketing Strategist for Yellow Perial Media LLC. First opening in 2011, Yellow Peril Gallery is focused on shaping and enlarging conversations on inclusion, diversity, and participation in and out of the art world. Both local and international artists can be seen at Yellow Peril Gallery, catering to Olneyville and the larger Rhode Island community. In addition to the Yellow Peril Gallery, the Peligro Amarillo/Santurce Gallery was opened this year in the arts district of Saan Juan, Puerto Rico.

Xander Marrow
Xander Marro (American b. 1975) has been living the good life in the feminist sub-underground for too many years to count on her long bony fingers.  She draws pictures (usually narrative), makes movies (usually not narrative), produces plays with elaborate sets and costumes (usually narrative, but confusing), and then makes stuff like quilts and dioramas (probably narrative?). Her work is often about spiritual relationships to the material stuff of this world. Co-founder of the Dirt Palace in 2000, a feminist cupcake encrusted netherworld located along the dioxin filled banks of the Woonasquatucket river, which is to say in Providence, RI.  Her studio (and heart) is there still.

meeting schedule

The Art in City Life Commission meets the third Wednesday of every month except for September, 2017 which was re-scheduled to accommodate the Jewish holiday and there is no meeting in October, 2017 and December, 2017.

January 18, 2017 – February 15, 2017 – March 15, 2017 – April 19, 2017 – May 17, 2017 – June 21, 2017
July 19, 2017 – August 16, 2017 – September 27, 2017 – November 15, 2017

All meetings take place at 5pm in the Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building located at 444 Westminster Street in Providence, RI 02903.  Meeting agendas are published one week in advance of the meeting and are available for public review at

The Art In City Life Commission along with the Department of Art Culture + Tourism is currently engaged in a Public Art Master Plan process through consultant firm VIA Partnership.  The Public Art Master Plan will help satisfy the City’s Cultural Plan (Creative Providence: A Cultural Plan For The Creative Sector) which called for the city to help invest and encourage the development of publicly and privately funded public art.