“Mi Gente Siempre Responde” Public Art Banners Project

Para información sobre vacunas del COVID-19

Healthcare workers and the essential workforce in Rhode Island represent a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities. And Latinx people are a big part of this essential workforce. Tony Méndez of radio station Poder 1110, artist Shey Rivera Ríos, poet Sussy Santana, and the City of Providence invite Latinx visual artists to celebrate and recognize the Latinx healthcare workers in Rhode Island, who are helping to manage the COVID-19 crisis.

Seven visual pieces by local Latinx artists have been selected to be turned into large public art banners. These banners will be installed in designated Providence neighborhoods, on important venues to the Latinx community. These venues were chosen after recommendations from local Latinx leaders and residents of the neighborhood. The selected artists are residents of Rhode Island and identify as part of the Latinx community. Each selected artist receives an Artist Fee of $350 for their selected work. Their art will also be part of a virtual exhibit and a bilingual community coloring book (Spanish + English).
Radio station Poder 1110 will interview the artists and the health workers who are featured in the artwork. Their stories will be featured in Poder 1110’s programming, and banner locations will be promoted in the radio station.

Purpose of project: To support local Latinx artists and celebrate healthcare workers. Banners will also include COVID-19 safety info in Spanish.

Support for this project is provided by: the City of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, the City of Providence’s COVID-19 Latinx Taskforce, and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism with funding from RI State Council for the Arts (RISCA), the Healthy Communities Office, and Poder 1110 Radio Station.

Company that will produce and install banners: Sign Designs, from Brockton, MA. They also produced and installed the large-scale portrait photos in Downtown Providence (by photographer Mary Beth Meehan).

Duration of installation: 6 months on buildings.
Banner material + sizes: Vinyl. Approx 8’x8’


  • Raúl Velasquez
  • Atabey Sánchez
  • René Gómez
  • Antonia Lara Gracia Sánchez
  • Tracy Jonsson-Laboy
  • Matt Garza
  • and Lead Artist Shey Rivera Ríos

Confirmed locations:

  • SouthSide Cultural Center – 393 Broad St
  • ECAS Theater – 55 Parkis Ave
  • America’s Food Basket – 863 Broad St
  • PVD Community Health Center – 355 Prairie Ave
  • PVD Community Health Center – 239 Cranston St
  • PVD Community Health Center – 100 Curtis St
  • One Neighborhood Builders – 66 Chaffee St.

Selected Press Coverage:

Lead Artist + Project Manager:
Shey Rivera Ríos

Selected Artists

Matt Garza (he + they) is a Queer Tejanx/Latinx performance artist, dancer-choreographer, healer, and educator. As a practicing artist and a classroom educator with 10 years of experience, Garza cultivates compassionate spaces for communities to practice strength, resilience, radical self-care, and revolutionary movement together. Garza is a founding member of the Glitter Goddess Collective and the Haus of Glitter Dance Company. Garza holds a B.A. in Education History from Brown University ‘11 and a dual M.A. in Educational Theatre & Social Studies Education from NYU. In their free time, Garza enjoys glitter, painting, singing, practicing/teaching yoga, dismantling institutional oppression, eating spaghetti, and making masks and costumes.


Instagram: @theglittergoddesscollective

Matt Garza (él + elles) es artista de performance Queer Tejanx / Latinx, baile y coreografía, sanador y educador. Como artista en el sector de educación con 10 años de experiencia, Garza cultiva espacios compasivos para que las comunidades practiquen la fuerza, la resiliencia, el autocuidado radical y el movimiento revolucionario. Garza es parte del equipo fundador de Glitter Goddess Collective y de Haus of Glitter Dance Company. Garza tiene un B.A. en Historia de la Educación de la Universidad Brown ‘11 y una doble maestría en Educación Educativa de Teatro y Estudios Sociales de la NYU. En su tiempo libre, a Garza le gusta pintar, cantar, practicar / enseñar yoga, desmantelar la opresión institucional, comer espagueti y hacer máscaras y disfraces.


Instagram: @theglittergoddesscollective

Raúl Velasquez

Raul Velasquez is a visual and tattoo artist from El Salvador, living in Cranston, RI. Velasquez runs and operates his own tattoo shop My Cultura Ink in Federal Hill and is creator and founder of the My Cultura apparel brand. Velasquez is an alum of AS220 Youth and a member of the AS220 Community Printshop.


Instagram: @mycultura  and @my_cultura

Raúl Velasquez

Raúl Velásquez nació en El Salvador y vive en Cranston, Rhode Island. Velásquez es artista visual y tatuador. Dirige y opera su propio estudio de tatuajes My Cultura Ink en Federal Hill y es creador y fundador de la marca de ropa My Cultura. Velásquez es un alumno de AS220 Youth y miembro del taller de impresión de la comunidad AS220.


Instagram: @mycultura  and @my_cultura

Antonia Gracia Lara Sánchez was born in Santiago de Chile and studied Industrial Design at the Catholic University of Valparaíso. Lara Sánchez has lived in Providence for three years and is a professor of digital arts at Roger Williams middle school. As an artist, Lara Sánchez freely explores various artistic mediums: painting, embroidery, photography, and digital arts. “I love to share my love of art with my students, and know that our room is a place of cultural acceptance and artistic exploration.”

Antonia Gracia Lara Sánchez nacío en Santiago de Chile, estudió Diseño Industrial en la Universidad Católica de Valparaíso y  hace tres años que vive en Providence. Lara Sánchez enseña artes digitales en el Colegio Roger Williams y como artista explora libremente diversos medios artísticos: pintura, bordado, fotografía y artes digitales. “Adoro compartir mi amor por el arte con mis alumnos, y saber que nuestra sala es un lugar de aceptación cultural y exploración artística”.

Instagram: @piscola.mami

Tracy Jonsson-Laboy (Drone Dolores) is a multi-media artist who self identifies as a pan-Caribbean and Swedish national. Jonsson is a professional in art, culture, and historic preservation. She explores identity, culture, value, and meaning primarily through the medium of music and experimental visual mediums like, wood-block printing, painting, textile sculpture, craft, and digital art.

Instagram: @drone_dolores

Tracy Jonsson-Laboy (Drone Dolores) es artista interdisciplinaria que se identifica como nacional Pan-Caribeña y Sueca. Jonsson es profesional en artes, cultura y preservación histórica. Explora la identidad, la cultura, el valor y el significado principalmente a través de la música y los medios visuales experimentales, como la impresión en madera, la pintura, la escultura textil, la artesanía y el arte digital.

Instagram: @drone_dolores

René Gómez was born in the Dominican Republic, and his family immigrated to the United States when he was four years old. In 2015, he was commissioned to paint a mural for a local business located at 925 Broad Street in South Providence. The mural is called ”Golden Flower” and it tells the story of Anacaona, a Taino cacique (chief) woman on the island of Hispaniola, which is now shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. “Being proud of my heritage, I look forward to giving back to my community thru the creation of art that reflects my style and celebrates my colorful Hispanic culture.”

René Gómez nació en la República Dominicana y su familia emigró a los Estados Unidos cuando tenía cuatro años. En 2015, se le encargó pintar un mural para un negocio ubicado en 925 Broad Street en South Providence. El mural se llama ” Golden Flower ” y cuenta la historia de Anacaona, una mujer cacique (jefa) taína en la isla de Hispaniola, que ahora es compartida por Haití y la República Dominicana. “Siendo orgulloso de mi herencia, espero poder contribuir a mi comunidad a través de la creación de arte que refleja mi estilo y celebre mi colorida cultura hispana”.

Atabey Sánchez-Haiman was born and raised Puerto Rico and lives in Rhode Island. Sánchez-Haiman is a scientist and an artist, with a degree in Biology from Brown University. The bright colors of her island are represented in her work, with a preference for a warm and bright palette of oranges, reds, and yellows. Sánchez-Haiman is the founder of Giraffes and Robots Pop-Art Studio, a design studio that uses art is a way of eliciting positive emotions effortlessly and instantly and is located at the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. Giraffes and Robots Pop-Art creations are sold locally at Craftland, West Elm Providence, Homestyle, Stock, Providence Picture Frame, 20 Stories Bookstore, and Henry Bear’s Park Toy Store.


Instagram: @giraffesrobots

Atabey Sánchez-Haiman nació y creció en Puerto Rico y vive en Rhode Island. Sánchez-Haiman es científica y artista, licenciada en biología por la Universidad de Brown. Los colores brillantes de su isla están representados en su trabajo, con preferencia por una paleta cálida y brillante de naranjas, rojos y amarillos. Sánchez-Haiman es fundadora y creadora de Giraffes and Robots Pop-Art Studio, un estudio de diseño que utiliza el arte como una forma de provocar emociones positivas instantáneamente. Su estudio está localizado en Hope Artiste Village en Pawtucket. Las creaciones de Giraffes and Robots Pop-Art Studio están a la venta en Craftland, West Elm Providence, Homestyle, Stock, Providence Picture Frame, 20 Stories Bookstore y Henry Bear’s Park Toy Store.


Instagram: @giraffesrobots

Coloring Book Main Artist

Mi Gente Coloring Book

Tamara Díaz is a visual artist and a bilingual, licensed independent clinical social worker. She has been living and working in the South Side of Providence for the past 20 years. Her father is from Cuba and her mother from England. Díaz began her career working for a shelter for teenage girls and other social justice programs in Providence and Philadelphia. In 2010, Díaz opened her own counseling practice and serves children ages 3-18 and their families, for a variety of reasons including trauma, depression, anxiety, and emotional/behavioral counseling. While maintaining her consulting practice, Díaz shows her iconic pop art in local and international exhibits, designs community projects, and runs her own store with products from her design collection. “I am passionate about art, music, traveling, wellness and helping others and my friends/family.


Tamara Díaz es artista visual y trabajadora social clínica independiente, bilingüe y con licencia. Díaz vive y trabaja en Providence desde hace 20 años. Su padre es de Cuba y su madre de Inglaterra. Díaz comenzó su carrera trabajando para un refugio para niñas adolescentes y en otros programas de justicia social en Providence y Filadelfia. En 2010, Díaz lanzó su práctica independiente y atiende a niñes de 3 a 18 años y a sus familias, por una variedad de razones que incluyen trauma, depresión, ansiedad y asesoramiento emocional y conductual. A la vez que mantiene su práctica de consultoría, Díaz muestra su icónico arte ‘pop’ en exhibiciones locales e internacionales, diseña proyectos comunitarios y dirige su propia tienda con productos de su colección de diseño. “Me apasiona el arte, la música, viajar, el bienestar y poder ayudar a otros y a mis amigos y familiares.”


Project Description and Call For Artists

Radio station Poder1110 and artist Shey Rivera Ríos present “Mi Gente Siempre Responde”, a public art banners project.

We invite Rhode Island-based Latinx artists to submit visual art portraits of Latinx healthcare workers from their families or communities, to celebrate their hard work. These portraits will be transformed as public art banners that will have health-related information to help protect our communities from COVID-19. These banners will be installed in designated locations in the predominantly Latinx neighborhoods of Providence, as vetted by local community leaders in Mayor Elorza’s Latinx Taskforce for COVID-19 Response.

The artwork will also be part of a virtual exhibit (details coming soon) and local radio station Poder 1110 will interview via phone the healthcare workers depicted on the portraits. Their stories will be featured in the radio station’s programming.

Submissions must be:

  • graphic art, illustration, or images of paintings
  • high resolution images (300dpi or larger)

Each awarded artist will receive a $350 stipend for their work. NOTE: our aim is to select one work per artist to showcase a broad range of talent.

This call for submissions will close on June 10 June 15 at 8PM.

To submit, please complete the form below. E-mail sheyriv@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.





Fields for Submission Form

  • Email
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Rhode Island City/Neighborhood
  • Who you chose to depict in the portrait and why
  • Work sample upload (jpg or pdf)
  • How should we contact you?

Working Timeline

  • May 20th Call-for-Submissions Open
  • June 30th Call-for-Submissions Close
  • July 6th Art Selected
  • July 27th Artists Announced
  • July 31st Banners produced
  • Aug 14 Banners installed
  • Aug 15 Digital Celebration

Support for this project is provided by PODER 1110, the City of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, the City of Providence’s COVID-19 Latinx Taskforce, and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism with funding from RI State Council for the Arts (RISCA), and the Healthy Communities Office.


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