The City of Providence Department of Art Culture and Tourism (ACT) invites an artist or artist team with a community driven social practice to work with the Providence Housing Authority (PHA), the Providence Healthy Communities Office (HCO), and Chad Brown/Carroll Tower residents to co-design and facilitate regular arts activities reflecting on the prompt: “There’s no place like home.” These activities will inform an inclusive process that will lead up to the production of a final, large-scale work of art or performance as part of a collective unveiling in 18 cities across the country in the Summer of 2024.
Two twelve-month (one-year) artist residencies will begin in Fall of 2023. The total budget for this project is $150,000, split evenly between the two project sites. $40,000 from each site budget will be earmarked for artist stipends to support labor and time, and $10,000 will be reserved for supplies to be used for regular arts activities. The final $25,000 will be set aside to pay for the installation/production of an original work (e.g. mural, theatrical pageant).
Project Goals and Context
The City of Providence was selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) as one of eighteen cities to participate in the One Nation/One Project (ONOP) National Arts & Wellness initiative. This work is designed to activate the power of the arts to repair the social fabric of our nation and heal communities. It will bring together artists, local government officials and community health workers to foster an equitable recovery and improve wellbeing in communities across the United States.
ACT Public Art’s residency program places artists in City of Providence facilities and offices to engage directly with residents and staff. Through these residencies, artists develop projects that infuse artistic practices and artists’ creative problem solving into residents’ lives and the everyday operations of the City.
The goals of the Public Art Residencies at Chad Brown and Carroll Tower include:
- Supporting residents as they tell stories reflecting upon what their homes mean to them.
- Providing residents with hands-on artmaking experiences and/or experiences with artistic processes.
- Fostering genuine connections among PHA residents in their respective communities by co-designing and administering art-making experiences and community building activities.
- Advancing social cohesion within PHA communities by advancing the development of culminating works that reflect engagement with the theme: “there is no place like home.”
Site and Location
- The Carroll Tower development serves 218 low-income residents who reside in one of PHA’s elder-only designated buildings in the heart of Smith Hill. The development includes 194 units, a library, community room, fitness room, and a computer lab. Twenty-five percent of Carroll Tower residents have a disability, and the average household income is $11,973. The Carroll Tower community is racially and ethnically diverse.
- The residents of Carroll Tower were severely and negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many residents experienced the passing of loved ones, and some residents even lost their lives due to complications from the coronavirus. The effects of social isolation, altered daily routines, and financial pressures were substantial and long-lasting. However, now that restrictions are lifted, residents are eager to return to “normal life” and are looking for opportunities to reconnect with their neighbors and access community resources once again. This enthusiastic community is healing and places great value on legacy and honoring the lives and contributions of friends and family who have passed on.
- The Chad Brown development serves over 1,000 low-income residents residing in one of three areas on the 34-acre property: Chad Brown and Admiral Terrace (family developments), and Sunset Village (elder-only). The development includes 375 units spread amongst 36 buildings, as well as the Tavares Community Center that is home to a gymnasium and classrooms. The average household size is 2.77 persons with an average income of $16,958. Twelve percent of Chad Brown residents have a disability, ninety-two percent have female-identifying heads of household, and forty-five percent of residents are children.
- Chad Brown is a vibrant multifamily, multi-generational community. Most regular arts engagement activities at Chad Brown will occur in and around 263 Chad Brown Street. Program sites may include indoor community rooms, and outdoor communal spaces such as playgrounds, parking lots and courtyards.
- Most residents at Chad Brown and Carroll Tower are Hispanic or Latinx and the artist can expect to communicate in both English and Spanish or organize and use interpretation services. Providence Housing Authority may be able to provide interpretation at large group events and activities, but the artist will be responsible for ensuring Spanish-language instruction is available for regular smaller-scale engagements.
- This call is open to artists and artist teams.
- Lead applicants must be twenty-one (21) years or older and hold a current Rhode Island home or studio address to be eligible to apply. Providence residents and/or artists and cultural workers with previous lived experience in Providence public housing are preferred.
- Artists who can demonstrate that they have the cultural capacity to work with PHA residents; have an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary arts practice; and work in traditional and indigenous art forms and intercultural modalities that foster innovation, diversity and relevance with new audiences will be preferred.
- As most residents at Chad Brown and Carroll Tower are native Spanish speakers, bilingual and/or bicultural applicants are preferred.
- Artists who show that they understand and respect the cultural wisdom of migrant communities, have cultural humility, understand the immigrant experience, have superb listening skills, and root their practices in empathy and cultural understanding are preferred.
Art Selection Method and Timeline
Artists will be selected through a competitive, two-tiered process. Qualified artists may submit their cover letter, artist statement, resume/CV and references, and three to five examples of relevant past projects by July 31, 2023. Applicants must apply online through ACT’s submission portal at the bottom of this page. Applicants may contact ACT Deputy Director Micah Salkind with written questions about the call via email by July 13, 2023 and they will be posted to an FAQ linked here: firstname.lastname@example.org
In early August 2023, The Art Selection Panel (ASP) will review complete applications and score the submitted qualifications, limiting the selection pool to no more than five artists for each site. For more on the interview process see below.
The shortlisted artists will then be invited to an in-person interview with PHA residents and the art selection panel in late August 2023. Prior to the interview, Artists will be asked to develop a brief presentation detailing how they will engage with residents, PHA and HCO staff, and the site.
The Art Selection Panel will recommend awarded artists and alternates for both sites to the Art in City Life Commission for approval at the August 30, 2023 regular meeting. The Department of Art, Culture and Tourism will announce the commissioned artists in residence no later than September 2023.
Following the announcement of the award, ACT will request approval from the Board of Contract and Supply and contract the artist who will begin their residency in Fall 2023. The residency will conclude in Fall 2024 following the installation of a final product in July 2024.
Art Selection Panel
The Art Selection Panel (ASP) will be comprised of up to seven members including:
- Art in City Life Commissioner
- Providence Housing Authority Staff
- HCO/ACT Staff
- PHA resident representative
Semi-Finalists will be selected based on the following criteria:
- Strength of community-based social practice, as evidenced by previous work and written submissions;
- Understanding of cultural humility and teamwork, as evidenced by previous work and written submissions;
- Experience working with diverse populations, as evidenced by previous work and written submissions;
- Demonstrated interest in working with PHA residents to co-create regular participatory arts programming that will lead up to the production and/or unveiling of a final work as evidenced in written submissions;
- Relationship of the artist’s method of engagement to the context of the Program Goals stated above, as evidenced by written submissions.
- Artistic excellence and innovation, as evidenced by previous work.
- Ability to manage budgets and complete projects on time, as evidenced by previous work.
Awarded artists will be selected based on the Artist Selection Panel’s evaluation of submitted materials as well as their interview.
If selected for an interview, applicants should be prepared to speak to the ASP about:
- Their weekly availability to meet and engage with residents;
- Vision for how they would work with PHA residents;
- Ability to engage bilingual or multilingual speakers (English and Spanish);
- Commitment to collaborating with intergenerational communities; and
- Their understanding of the project’s goals.
Artist Scope of Work
Upon award notification and acceptance, the artist shall sign a contract with the City for the activities outlined below:
- Participate in regularly scheduled check-ins with staff the City and other relevant stakeholders.
- Immerse themselves with the Chad Brown/Carroll Tower communities to develop and lead arts strategies and engagement activities.
- Work in collaboration with PHA community health workers to infuse wellness into arts activities and opportunities.
- Facilitate the selection of artwork/mural sites and the co-design process where appropriate. Activities may include but are not limited to workshops, artist talks, art lessons, live art-making, events, and surveys.
- Submit for approval a project proposal and budget that includes engagement strategies and a description of the proposed approach for developing content for a final collaborative work (e.g. mural or performance).
- Engage PHA residents in the co-design of a final collaborative work.
- Participate in an unveiling and dedication ceremony with the PHA community to be held July 2024.
To apply, submit below.
- Please tell us what excites you about this call and how you see yourself positioned to succeed in the proposed role. You can speak to your interest to work at either site or both. (no more than 1 page single-spaced)
- Please provide a brief artist statement to introduce the Art Selection Panel to who you are as an artist and some of the themes and ideas you explore in your artwork. Please do not insert a resume or list of accomplishments here. We look forward to learning about your practice. (500 word max)
CV/Resume and References:
- A resume/CV of no more than 3 (three) pages in length.
- Your resume must include three professional/personal references. You should include the references’ names, contact information, and position.
A portfolio of 3 to 5 work samples:
- For each work sample submitted, the following should be included:
- Artwork title
- Year of completion
- Total budget / cost
- Brief description of artwork (100 words or less) – please include the commissioning entity (if applicable), and state your role in the creation of the artwork if other artists or design professionals were involved in its creation.