Call for Artists: Providence Park-ist in Residence

NOTE: The application in its entirety is available below, and can be translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Khmer using the Translate button. You must apply online through CaFE, here: CaFE’s application portal is in English only – please contact the Department of Art Culture + Tourism should you need assistance at 401 680 5770.

Program Overview

The City of Providence invites professional artists to live in residence on Park grounds to create fresh new ways for visitors to experience two of Providence’s most unique and underutilized parks. Selected artists and their families will be supported through housing and the possibility of partnering with City staff and programs. This innovative opportunity is designed in collaboration between the Providence Parks Department (“Parks”) and the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (“ACT”), through its ACT Public Art Program.

Awarded artists will receive a two-year residency at one of three available Parks-owned properties located at Esek Hopkins Homestead, and Wanskuck Park. In exchange for this subsidized housing, artists-in-residents are asked to host twelve public exhibitions or performances to engage with park visitors throughout their time in residence. Within one-year of the residency’s close, artists are required to donate either finished site-specific work or the rights to writings. These permanent works/writings should in part depict a new perspective of the Providence Parks for visitors, drawn from the artist’s own experience living at the site. Works will become part of the Parks permanent collection and will be archived on the Parks and AC+T websites.  The City will reserve the right to display or present donated work seasonally in public spaces within the park, surrounding communities, and beyond.

The application deadline is September 30, 2019.

Awarded artists may move into their residence by December 1st.

Program Goals

The goal of ACT Public Art’s residency program is to place artists in City 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 Park-ist in Residence will animate the grounds where they live, bring new audiences to the Parks, and create safe spaces for diverse cultural activities, arts programs, and experiences.


Location and Siting

Awarded artists will enter into a lease agreement to reside in the property at a fixed monthly rent of $600 plus utilities, as well as agree to be the property caretakers for the term of the lease.

Participants may be accompanied for the duration of the lease by a spouse, adult companion, and/or by their children. Accompanying adults must also complete paperwork to become formal park volunteers, with a stipulation of contributing 5 hours of work each week to receive free park housing.

Wheelchair-accessible housing is available at the Esek Hopkins Homestead. Smoking is not allowed in any Park housing.

Available residencies include:

Esek Hopkins Homestead, 71 Admiral Street, Providence, RI

This historic home is situated next to Hopkins Field and Playground on approximately 1 acre of land. This 2 story home features 3,492 sq.ft. of livable space including two bathrooms, three bedrooms, and ample studio space. Additional responsibilities include lawn maintenance.

Recommended disciplines include: writing in essays, poetry, drama, playwriting, performance art.

 Wanskuck House, 229 Woodard Road, Providence RI

 This 1,258 sq.ft. cottage style home features two bedrooms, one bath and a small studio space. It sits on the edge of 22 acres of pristine parkland and wooded trails. Additional responsibilities include lawn maintenance.

Recommended disciplines include visual arts in painting, textiles, sculpture, fine art photography.



  •  Applicant must be 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 will be preferred.
  • This call is open to artists working across all media, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary arts practices, traditional and indigenous art forms and intercultural modalities.
  • This call is open to individual artists and/or artist collaboratives of no more than three. Please note that this call is administered through Call for Entry and collaboratives must set up a profile as a group in order to complete the application successfully.
  •  Applicant must have demonstrated experience with a portfolio consisting of at least three successful public art installations, gallery exhibitions, public performances, or publications.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate their experience as an artist with social practice with a portfolio consisting of at least one successful arts-based program including but not limited to instruction, fabrication of public art and/or the production of a performance.
  • Preference will be given to artists who demonstrate cultural competency and previous experience working in intercultural modalities that foster innovation, diversity, and relevance with new audiences.
  •  Multilingual applicants are preferred.
  • People of Color, Women, and LGBTQ+ artists are highly encouraged to apply.
  • Artists who are parenting/caretaking for dependents are highly encouraged to apply.

Art Selection Method

Artists will be selected through a competitive, two-tiered process. Qualified artists may submit their Artist Statement, Resume/CV, and three to five examples of relevant projects by 11:59pm on September 30, 2019.  Applicants must apply online through Call for Entry here:

The Art Selection Panel will review complete applications and score the submitted qualifications, limiting the selection pool to no more than five artists.

The five shortlisted artists will then be invited to an in-person interview with the art selection panel.  Prior to the interview, Artists will be asked to develop a brief project presentation detailing their proposed engagement with the site, the grounds, and Park visitors.

The Department of Art, Culture + Tourism will announce the commissioned artist in residence no later than November 15th, 2019.

Art Selection Panel

The Art Selection Panel will be comprised of seven members including:

  • Chair of the Art in City Life Commission
  • A member of the Board of Parks Commissioners
  • Superintendent of Providence Parks
  • Deputy Director of the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism
  • A staff member or designee of the Partnership for Providence Parks
  • A local artist
  • A local Parks supporter and/or small business community representative

Selection Criteria

Finalists will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Relationship of the artist’s idea to the context of the Program Goals stated above.
  • Artistic excellence and innovation as evidenced by previous work.
  • Clarity and creativity of the artist’s idea for engagement (12 hosted activities).
  • Feasibility of the idea and ability of the artwork to be completed within the set timeline.
  • Letter of reference (landlord, employer, professor)


If selected for an interview, applicants should be prepared to speak about their proposed engagement strategies and events, general thoughts about their inspiration from the homes and/or residing in a Park, and how they will make their work-in-progress visible and accountable throughout the residency. Panelists will also ask questions with regards to property stewardship experience.


Artist Scope of Work

Upon award notification and acceptance, the artist shall sign a contract with the City for the activities outlined below:

Public Engagement 

The artist-in-residence shall produce twelve on-site public events or engagement activities throughout the tenure of the residency. Artists will be required to submit a schedule of activities six-month intervals and will register the events with the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism. The City encourages the artist to host these events in collaboration with local libraries, colleges, community groups, art galleries, and cultural organizations. The artist will have a modest budget of $150.00 per event with the expectation that each event will have an audience/participants of 15 or more. The artist will be responsible for submitting receipts for supplies and materials and shall be reimbursed by ACT upon receipt of invoice.

The artist(s)-in-residence are expected to regularly blog about their experience using visual and written methods of documentation at a minimum of 12 posts.

Mid-Way Review 

The artist(s)-in-residence will be required to present before the Art in City Life Commission one year into the residency (November 2021) to present their work to date, including engagement activities and work towards the permanent gift to the City.  

Final Permanent Work gifted to the City

At the close of the residency (November 2022) the artist(s) are required to donate either finished site-specific work or the rights to writings. These permanent works/writings should in part depict a new perspective of the Providence Parks for visitors, drawn from the artist’s own experience living at the site. Works will become part of the Parks permanent collection and will be archived on the Parks and AC+T websites.  The City will reserve the right to display or present donated work seasonally in public spaces within the park, surrounding communities, and beyond.  

Property Stewardship

The Artist shall act as the caretaker of the property where in residence. These activities will be outlined in the lease agreement between the Artist and the Parks Department, a sample of which is provided below.

To Submit

To apply, go online to the CaFÉ homepage at and create a free artist account. CaFÉ is free to use and there is no entry fee for this call.  Under “Find Calls” search for “Providence Park-ist In Residence” or follow this link []  to go directly to the call. Follow the instructions for submission, upload the required images and files, and submit. For technical questions about CaFÉ, please click on “Help” on the CaFÉ website.

Note: artist teams must create a joint profile in CaFÉ in order to complete the application successfully.

ACT will be offering a free Artist Info Session in mid-September to assist interested artists in signing up for CaFÉ and to answer any questions about this Call. If you are interested in attending the session, please email and we will notify you of the time and location of the session as soon as it is confirmed.

In the CaFÉ system, you will be required to answer the following questions:

  1. 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 are interested in your media, discipline, and community engagement practices. (300words maximum)
  2. Describe the idea that you would like to explore for this project. Tell us how your idea relates to the Program Goals listed in this Call to Artists, and how your idea addresses the vision and goals of ACT Public Art. (500 words maximum)
  3. You will also be required to attach the following files and information in your online submission:
  • a resume of no more than 3 pages for each artist applying.
  • up to 10 images of past work (may include a mix of JPEGs, websites, audio clips, and/or videos (60-second clips only).
  • the following for each work sample submitted: artist’s name, artwork title, a brief description of the artwork (100 words or less), medium, completion date, dimensions, total budget/cost (please use the Price/Value field in CaFE). In the description field, please include 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.
  • A letter of reference (landlord, employer, professor or mentor preferred)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. I see that you have noted preferred disciplines at each house. Is that written in stone?
    • Not at all, these are suggestions we have made based upon the amenities at the properties.
  2. Are dogs allowed at these properties?
    • As much as we love them, dogs are not permitted in Providence Parks unless they are designated as such by the Board of Park Commissioners. Neither of the properties has been approved for dogs.
  3. Can you please specify what is meant by “lawn maintenance?” What specific activities are you asking the artist-in-residence to undertake, how often, and how much space around the property is considered the “lawn”?
    • It is mostly weeding and keeping any garden beds tidy and well maintained. The Parks Department mows and does one large seasonal leaf removal, but would want lessee to assist with leaves as they may fall thereafter.
  4. Is it possible to increase the budget for public engagement events?
    • No.
  5. Do I have to divide the funds evenly to produce all 12 events?
    • You must host 12 events over the course of 2 years and the total cost for all of the events may not exceed $1800.
  6. May I collaborate with other artists to produce, perform, or support the events?
    • Absolutely. Please be cognizant of your budget and make every attempt to compensate your collaborators.
  7. Will there be additional permits needed per event?
    • You will likely need to submit an online Special Events Permit Application for the public engagements. Repeated events that share the same site maps, production schedules and offerings can share one application so long as the dates and times are clearly noted. The Parks’ Department will waive Park usage fees for these events but other costs may arise in the permitting process. ACT is able to assist you in completing permit applications.
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