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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
AboutACT News and ReportsSponsored by ACT

Art In City Life Commission

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 (policy unveiled April 26, 2018). The Commission will also award grants to public artists on qualifying City projects.

For more information on the Art in City Life Ordinance, follow this link.

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.

Art in City Life Plan:

The Art in City Life Plan was unveiled on April 26 2018 and approved by the Art in City Life Commission on May 11 2018. Outlined in the plan is ACT Public Art, which catalyzes calls for art across four trajectories: Landmark Public Artworks, Public Art Residencies, Civic Infrastructure Projects, and Temporary Projects.

For information on the Public Art Master Plan:



Art in City Life Commission as of April 2024

Bob Dilworth, Chair
Suzanne Kim, Vice Chair
Dan Wood, Secretary
Thea Quiray-Tagle
Tony Aguilar
Karen Harris
Dana Heng
Mayor Brett P. Smiley (ex officio)
Finance Director Sara Silveria (ex officio)

Commissioner Biographies

Bob Dilworth, Chair
Nationally recognized and exhibited, Bob Dilworth’s works on canvas and paper, and assemblages, have won many awards including the 2014 recipient of the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts Fellowship in painting, and grants from the Rhode Island Foundation, University of Rhode Island Center for the Humanities, the University of Rhode Island Council for Research, and the National John Biggers Award in drawing, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. His work has also won fellowships from the following artist residencies: Iris Project Artist Residency Program in LA, California; Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming; Angels Gate Cultural Center in association with Marymount California University in San Pedro, CA; Playa Artist Residency in Summer Lake, OR; Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snow Mass, CO; Hambidge Creative Center for the Arts and Science in Rabun Gap, GA; the Klaus Center for the Arts, San Pedro, CA; Contemporary Artist Center in North Adams, MA; the African American Master Artist in Residence Program (AAMARP), Northeastern University in Boston, MA; and Le Cite International des Artes, Artist Residency, Paris, France.  His work is included in corporate and private collections including many Chicago libraries and public institutions. Bob earned a Masters of Fine Art degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Bachelors of Fine Art degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught art and design at colleges and universities throughout the country, including; Princeton University, Brown University, Columbia College in Chicago, and Professor of Art in Painting, Drawing, and Design, in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Rhode Island for 28 years. Between 2010 and 2013 he served as chair of that department. From 2014 – 2018, Dilworth served as Director of the URI Main Art Gallery, where he curated academic-centered exhibitions by local, regional and national artists. He was Chair of Africana Studies at URI from 2018 – 2020. He retired from the University of Rhode Island in the spring of 2020. He served on the Board of Trustees at the Newport Art Museum (2017-20) and currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Jamestown Art Center. He also currently serves as a member of the Providence Art in City Life Commission. Bob works as a full-time artist, represented by Cade Tompkins Projects, Providence, RI.

Tony Aguilar
Tony Aguilar is the founder and principal of New Flavor Media, a Providence-based advertising and publishing company. His company succeeds in helping its customers with marketing services along the entire advertising and marketing spectrum. These services include strategic planning, branding, market research, design, copywriting and production of television, radio, print, websites, and social media. Mr. Aguilar has created advertising in Los Angeles, New York City, and in Providence, Rhode Island. As a publisher, Mr. Aguilar has edited, designed, produced, printed, and distributed various magazines and books. He has collaborated on advertising brochures for Chrysler Corporation and Ikea USA in New York City. Locally, he has produced Destination Providence, Southern New England Woman Magazine, and Tribe Magazine, among other titles. Mr. Aguilar was the publisher of “A Key to the Worlds, Embracing Differences,” a bilingual children’s book. He was the editor for the book “Out of My Mind,” a collection of sports cartoons and commentary by Boston sports radio WEEI’s Larry Johnson. Within the RI creative community, Mr. Aguilar served for over ten years as the board chair and executive director of the Providence Latin American Film Festival. For five years, he served on the board of Festival Ballet Providence (now named Ballet RI). He recently concluded an eight-year tenure as a member on the board of trustees of the Community Libraries of Providence. He currently serves on the community advisory board of Rhode Island PBS.

Karen Harris
KAREN DRYSDALE HARRIS is a Jamaican-born artist based in RI. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design and I-Park Foundation’s artist residency. Her inspirations are nature and the memory of her Jamaican roots. Harris exhibited in The Black Biennial, at RISD Museum, TF Airport GREEN SPACE Gallery, Sutton Gallery, Imago Foundation Gallery, AS220, BankRI Gallery, with multiple shows throughout RI, Maine, and Connecticut. She was featured in Lifestyle-Inside Art and So Rhode Island and the Providence Monthly Magazine. Harris works at RISD and serves on RISD’s Center for Community Partnerships Engagement Advisory group. She is also on the board of The Steel Yard.

Dana Heng
Dana Heng is an interdisciplinary visual artist and educator based in Providence, RI. She attended youth arts organizations, including New Urban Arts, AS220 Youth, and The Steel Yard, as a student during her years at Classical High School. While in college at the University of Vermont, she studied sociology and studio art, continuing to foster a creative and social practice that was instilled in her as a teen in the Providence youth arts scene. Upon returning to RI, Dana dove right back into the NUA community, where she is now employed as the Manager of Artist Mentors. Greatly influenced and inspired by the people and philosophy at NUA, Dana’s practice outside of her day-job is often community-driven. She co-founded Binch Press in 2018, a member-based print shop centering queer and BIPOC artists. She has co-organized the annual Queer/Trans Zinefest in Providence, RI, which is a zine fair and event for independent publishers and artists. In her personal creative practice, Dana makes work based on food culture and memory as it relates to identity and belonging. She was the recipient of the 2019 RISD Museum Artist Fellowship, 2021 Santa Fe Art Institute Labor Residency, 2022 Interlace Project Grant, 2023 Steel Yard Ceramics Micro Residency, and has shown her work in galleries around Providence. She is a collector of random skills and hobbies (her most favorite is cooking), driven by curiosity and a desire to learn and to share.

Suzanne Kim (Vice Chair)
Since 2019, Suzanne has been the Program Director at FirstWorks in Providence, Rhode Island. FirstWorks presents world-class performing arts programs that build the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of the Providence community, and is the co-producer of PVDFest, Providence’s signature arts festival. From 2004 – 2016, Suzanne was the Deputy Director and Director of Exhibitions at Smack Mellon in NYC  where she curated and produced 100+ large-scale solo projects, group exhibitions, public programs, and special events. Suzanne has been a visiting curator and has participated on panels and selection committees for organizations such as the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York Foundation for the Arts, Wave Hill, Cue Art Foundation, and Brown University, among others. As a cultural producer, Suzanne’s focus is on supporting the creation of new multimedia work and using the arts to foster conversations about how we can imagine and create a better world.

Thea Quiray Tagle
Dr. Quiray Tagle is a transdisciplinary scholar of visual studies, feminist & queer studies, and critical ethnic studies. She earned her PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and holds a BA in Political Science and Human Rights Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University. She was the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate in Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2015-2016. Thea has previously held full-time faculty appointments in American and Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Interdisciplinary Arts programs at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the University of Washington Bothell. Her research has been published in academic journals including American Quarterly, Critical Ethnic Studies, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, Ethnic Studies Review, and Verge: Studies in Global Asias.

Dan Wood
Dan Wood is the founder and driving force (for better or worse!) at [DWRI Letterpress]. After briefly studying history at McGill University in Montreal, he received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1994. He has continued his education in print ever since, learning the trades of offset lithographic and letterpress printing in commercial print shops up and down the East Coast. He is an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, shows his own work nationally and internationally (some of which can be found here), and tries very hard to use his printing to make the world a better place. But to really know what is on his mind, see it translated through his Linotype Daily postings.

Previous Commissioners

Lois Harada, (former Chair)
Lois Harada is a printmaker bridging fine art and commercial printing in Providence, Rhode Island. Her work utilizes letterpress production techniques and equipment to create printed editions that are meant to be affordable and accessible to a wide audience. Print editions are often responses to mass produced print material created by governments, corporations or newspapers. Originally from Salt Lake City, Lois settled in Providence after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Printmaking in 2010. She is in charge of Invitations and Personal Stationery at DWRI Letterpress. She also serves as Board Chair of New Urban Arts, a nationally recognized non-profit that offers free after school art programming for high school students and young artists.

Adrienne Adeyemi (former Vice Chair)
Adrienne Adeyemi (she/her) is a Providence, RI native with deep and long-standing ties to the local art community. Her career was born out of her passion for the youth development non-profit sector in the city and a commitment to access, equity, and social & economic justice work. She has a background in non-profit administration, extensive experience in major gift fundraising, and is currently the RI Donor Relations Officer for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Adrienne holds a B.A. in Studio Art and a M.P.A in Public Administration.

Jason Almeida
Jason “WHERE’S NASTY” Almeida is a DJ and creative from Providence, Rhode Island using events and projects in art, fashion, film, and music to bring people together. Getting his start at 16 years old throwing teen parties in local nightclubs, he went on to attend the University of Rhode Island where he would begin DJing, produce events such as the Multicultural Award-winning URI October Fest Weekend, and host a weekly radio show for over 4 years. In late 2012, WHERE’S NASTY co-founded stay silent PVD, an agency that focuses on producing events, editorials, design, and marketing. stay silent PVD has produced events including the summer festival series Day Trill, and monthly events; Bounce House, Eggs Over, and Luv U Better.  He also co-founded Trade Pop-Up, a non-profit organization providing artists and small businesses with free retail and gallery space along with resources to help continue to build their brands.

Aleida Benitez
Aleida Benitez has worked to tap into the creative potential of young people in many capacities for the past 25 years. She served as the founding youth director of the “children’s circle” at the Jane Addams School for Democracy, an intergenerational learning center with immigrants on the West Side of St. Paul, MN. Aleida was then program director at Providence CityArts for Youth, where she is now a board member, which gives young artists an empowering space to build community. Currently Aleida teaches Spanish at The Gordon School in East Providence, where she also directs the Heritage Program for Latinx youth. Aleida has a MA in art education from Miami University in Ohio, and studied Spanish and youth studies at the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate. She continues to draw energy from the enthusiasm and creativity of young people.

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.

Jonathan Bonner
Jonathan Bonner has had over 40 solo shows and is represented in many public and private collections throughout the United States. The work includes sculpture, video, installation and works on paper. Bonner has also completed many large scale site-specific commissions including projects at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and Nashua Street Park in Boston. He also built the Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial in down town Providence.

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.

Nidal Fakhouri, (former Secretary)
Nidal Fakhouri is a trained computer engineer and self-taught ceramic artist. He moved to Providence in 2006 and quickly became involved with The Steel Yard as a resident ceramic artist. After 6 years at the Steel Yard as a resident artist and ceramics coordinator Nidal established a studio and is a founding member of the artist community at The Nicholson File building, which is now home to almost 30 artists. Nidal has done several notable tile projects, including ones at AS220, Industrious Spirits and The Wedding Cake House. His work explores the common ground between the seemingly divergent fields of craft and technology. Function, obsolescence, science, nature and decay are recurrent themes in his work. Nidal holds bachelors degrees in Computer Engineering from the University of Rhode Island and Anthropology from Ithaca College. In addition to his studio practice, he works as a software developer for The Weather Channel. He lives and works in Providence drawing inspiration from the city’s overwhelming creative energy.

Avishek Ganguly
Avishek Ganguly is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Literary Arts and Studies at RISD.  He is an interdisciplinary scholar who works at the intersection of translation, theater and performance, cultural studies, contemporary literatures in English, and the public humanities. His recent publications include Living Translation: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Seagull Books) co-edited with Emily Apter, Mauro Pala and Surya Parekh, and Performance and Translation in a Global Age co-edited with Kélina Gotman (Cambridge University Press). He is currently working on a monograph on the cultural politics of “Global Englishes” and experimenting with a project at the interface of design and the humanities. Ganguly believes that the interdisciplinary humanities should play a prominent role in shaping public life and policy conversations around contemporary issues, and he continues to work with various cultural and nonprofit organizations in the area including the Wilbury Theatre Group and FringePVD: The Providence Fringe Festival.

Joe Haskett (former Secretary)
Joe has over 16 years of architectural experience which includes the adaptive re-use of historic buildings, market-rate and affordable multi-family housing, prefabricated 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.

Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor
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.

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.

Xander Marro (former Chair)
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.

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.

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.

Eric Telfort
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.

Yasmin Vobis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (RA, NCARB) received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her Master’s Degree from Princeton University, where she was awarded the Butler Traveling Fellowship and the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize. She has practiced in San Francisco and New York in the offices of Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects, Guy Nordenson and Associates, and Steven Holl Architects, and she was a resident at MoMA PS1 for the Rising Currents charrette and exhibition. She has taught at Princeton University and Rhode Island School of Design, and currently teaches at the Cooper Union. She received the Founders / Arnold W. Brunner / Katherine Edwards Gordon Rome Prize in Architecture 2016-17.

Art in City Life Commission Meeting Schedule 2024

meetings are generally held every other month on the last Wednesday of the month but are subject to change. The following meetings are scheduled as of now but we anticipate more to be confirmed in the next several months.

February 28, 2024

April 24, 2024

June 26, 2024

August 28, 2024

October 23, 2024

December date TBD

Meeting Information

Time                5:00 p.m.

Location        444 Westminster Street, Providence RI 02903

                           Please note it is important to refer to individual agendas as meeting locations are subject to change.


Meeting agendas are published 48 hours in advance of the meeting and are available for public review on the Secretary of State’s website, the City of Providence Open Meetings Portal and the City of Providence Event Calendar.

If you do not have internet access, please call the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism at 401.680.5770 to request a paper copy of the agenda.

Members of the public may request a particular item be added to the agenda, which is developed at the discretion of the Commission’s Chair. To request an item be added to the agenda, send along a detailed description of what exactly you are requesting to discuss to no later than 14 days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Public Art Registration

The City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism welcomes independent artists who are interested in temporarily exhibiting or permanently installing public art within the city. We ask that artists register their projects regardless of whether they are installing on private or public property. Some projects may require approval from the Art in City Life Commission. To register, click here. Questions may be directed to Charlotte Abotsi, ACT Production Coordinator, at or 401 680 5363.