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Public Art Ideas Competition 2019

In spring of 2019, ACT Public Art invited emerging and established artists in the Providence metropolitan area to submit an idea or concept for “Animating Public Space” that they would like to explore through a temporary work of art on City-owned public property or land. Four artists were selected through an RFQ to RFP process (see here for the application).

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some project implementation has been delayed.

Tracy Silva Barbosa (Duende Glass)
“CrossRoadsPVD”
Intersection of Providence and Pearl Streets
STATUS: COMPLETE

On Saturday September 12th, 2020, commissioned artist Tracy Silva Barbosa and a group of volunteers worked together to complete a ground mural in the intersection where Pearl and Providnece Streets cross on the Southside. The concept for the mural, which was workshopped in the spring with neighborhood residents through digital community engagement, represents “unity” through a motif of interlocking hands and arms. Using the blue color palette from her signature “Azulejos Project,” Barbosa and a dozen or so volunteers made quick work, filling in her carefully-measured chalk sketch with stunning shades of sky, azure, and cerulean.

Coverage of Tracy’s project on Fun 107

Walker Mettling
“Where Long Pond Used To Be”
West End Recreation Center, 109 Bucklin Street
STATUS: COMPLETE

Print-maker and comic book publisher Walker Mettling created an historical map of Elmwood featuring the gone but not forgotten histories of Long Pond as well as a billboard mural depicting the pond on the West End Rec Center’s west-facing facade. The tri-part project included the map, the billboard, and a public screen-printing party to celebrate the research and final products. To learn more, check out #wherelongpondusedtobe.

Kristen Haines (Left) and Lyza Baum

Kristen Haines and Lyza Baum
“Olneyville Community Loom”
40 Sonoma Ct.
STATUS: COMPLETE

Multi-disciplinary textile artist Lyza Baum and textile artist/museum educator Kristen Haines spent spring 2021 into summer conducting outreach to Olneyville residents and organizations to build connections and support for a summer weaving collaboration. The design was developed  in collaboration with the Rosie’s Girls program at the Olneyville YWCA, the site owner, and advocates at the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. It was installed in late summer 2021.

The spit on her finger to wipe the drool on my face always embarrassed me in the mornings (2021)

Ryan Cardoso
“The 11”
Broad Street between Trinity Square and Roger Williams Park, Various Sites
STATUS: COMPLETE

The 11 is a public exhibition by Ryan Cardoso of photographs and flags raised in celebration of growing up on the southside of Providence. The exhibition spans from 526 Broad St. to 1481 Broad St. This body of work is from 2020-2021, and has been created to reflect on the good times, hard times, and loving times of being raised on the southside of Providence.


The Public Art Ideas Competition is one of the key recommendations in the Temporary Projects category of the Art and City Life master plan. It builds on ACT’s history of commissioning and displaying temporary public artwork and Providence’s identity as a place for artists to experiment and innovate in creative and organic ways. The model is allowing ACT to explore new ways of working with artists and push beyond traditional modes of artistic display. ACT provides technical and project management support to commissioned artists and helps them gain skills necessary to work in public space and at new scales. The department also facilitates new opportunities for artists to think broadly about public space and the ways their work can interact with and make an impact on the built environment, natural landscapes, and the community who uses these spaces. Selected artists receive full project management and technical support from ACT staff and consultants, in addition to funding.

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