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Warren Weekend Wandering

What a week, folks. I've been home with the plague, it's supposed to rain buckets tonight, and I'm already wearing fingerless gloves in the house. Ah, well, maybe I'm just getting old...tomorrow is my birthday after all. Hopefully, "Sun-Day" means that the sun will reappear and dry things up to crackly autumn goodness.

Rain or shine, YES Gallery + Studio in Warren is one spot to check out. Artist Tom McAleer will be giving a plein air painting demonstration tomorrow, Sunday, October 26th, from 2-5pm. During the demo, Tom will be painting a portrait of the historic gallery building (which once housed renowned illustrator David Macauley's studio!)

Pure/Play at YES Gallery + Studio through November 2nd, 2008

While you are there, check out Pure/Play, the current exhibition featuring paintings by McAleer and Douglas Desjardins. As additional incentive, 5% of exhibition proceeds will go to benefit the John Hope Settlement House, which provides social services to families in Providence, RI. YES Gallery + Studio is a tax free zone.

YES Gallery + Studio is located at 146 Water Street, Warren, RI 02885

Call for Entries: Providence Chamber of Commerce

Hi there Little Rhody artist/designer/craftsperson. Looking for a way to attract local art lovers and businesses to your portfolio of work? The Providence Chamber of Commerce is now accepting ongoing submissions of Providence-related artwork in all media for display on their website in a juried banner space.

It's a little out of the ordinary, as far as "exhibiting opportunities" go, but it's free to apply, and all you have to do is send an electronic image of your work in their required format. From the call:

"All submissions must be in an electronic form (hard copies and originals will not be accepted) and emailed to Artist Name, Email / Web Link, Medium, and Phone Number must be included in the submission. Submitted images must fill a space of 300 pixels high X 550 pixels wide at a resolution of 72 ppi. If the submitted work is selected for display, the artist will have to fill out a release form (that will be supplied) before the work is exhibited."

The next round of submissions is due by October 22nd, with accepted entries to be published on the site from November 1, 2008 - January 1, 2009. Students are welcome to apply, and all winning entries will entitle the artist to display their contact info on the site for the duration of the "show". Good luck!

Reclaiming The Big Box

It's no secret that I am addicted to National Public Radio. After all, I can absorb a huge amount of balanced, intelligent news stories, sprinkled liberally with culture, arts and entertainment while doing an equally huge amount of work! Eyes not required!

Every once in a while, I hear a story that I'm compelled to share here. Today's pick, from NPR's All Things Considered, is about the work of artist and professor Julia Christensen. Recognizing the enormous blight that big box stores and their hulking remnants have left on our country's landscape, Christensen set about documenting the fate of those large, rectangular structures that were abandoned by their makers - doomed due to the inevitable outsizing perpetuated by their dominance on our consumer spending. With the sheer number of large footprint stores X-d off of the active storelist by the world's hungriest companies, many communities are attempting to reclaim the disused space.

"on this site... a commentary" - photo by Marc Levin - Creative Commons: some rights reserved

Above: "on this site...a commentary", Photo by Marc Levin, via flickr

Christensen's new book, "Big Box Reuse", published by The MIT Press, documents how (Main Street!) America is taking back millions of square feet through adventurous, mixed-use projects that benefit their communities. While Hormel's homage to SPAM isn't necessarily the most gloriously useful example; Lebanon, Missouri's public library and Route 66 museum is. Just click here to listen to the full broadcast.

Weekly Wandering

Churning out several articles on deadline this week has me posting less frequently to the blog, but it hasn't stopped me from wandering about Providence in search of art happenings and crunchy October leaf drifts to stomp through.

One nice place for a foliage-rich stroll is the Moses Brown School campus on Lloyd Street. Nestled in the center of campus is the Krause Gallery, now showing the work of three New England artists in "Exploring Space", on view through October 24th. This show poses it's most literal question with the work of Laura Shirreff, a textile artist who translates the phenomenon of the solar eclipse into complex, jacquard woven fabric panels. (The devil is in the details, so my photograph certainly does not do this work justice - these merit close inspection.)

Jacquard woven fabric panels by Laura Shirreff at the Krause Gallery

Above: Jacquard-woven fabric works by Laura Shirreff on view at the Krause Gallery.

Another stop I like to make (especially on Gallery Night when the refreshments are flowing) is the secret gem of Above Providence Optical Gallery. Realizing that their digs are too luxurious to simply sell high-end spectacle frames, these nice folks invite the public up their spiral staircase to the well-lit second floor, where ~monthly art shows reign the walls.

Above Providence Optical Gallery

Above: Someday I'll own a fancy light fixture like the one at Above Providence Optical Gallery...

On view this month is textile work by Joanne Luongo of Pawtucket's Paper Girls Studio. Anyone who obsessively stitches thread into muslin for six months to achieve a square foot or so abstract thread drawing, or crochets panties out of plastic bags is someone whose work I can get into. The collection of panty alternatives on the entrance wall is a definite conversation piece...check out this detail of "Victoria's Real Secret". Now that's a thong with a nasty temper...

Joanne Luongo: Victoria's Real Secret - thong, pins

Above: Joanne Luongo - "Victoria's Real Secret", "Peek-a-Boo Panties", "Thread Panties" (installation shot): bikini, pins, tar gel, plastic bags, thread.


Make Noise, Not War: HONK! Fest Spans The Region

Perhaps you were one of the thousands of revelers who made it up to Somerville and Cambridge this holiday weekend to stomp and sweat to the collective din of brass, reed, percussion and activism that is the annual HONK! Fest. If you weren't, don't fret - Titubanda, the legendary 35-piece brass, percussion, reed and dance band hailing di Roma has one more day of local parade action in store for us.

Titubanda performs activist street band joy at Providence's Kennedy Plaza - October 13, 2008

Above: Titubanda performs with swirling, whirling audience participation at Providence's Kennedy Plaza - October 13, 2008.

While they may be swathed in woolen scarves and coats, as our crisp New England October climate feels like arctic ice to our Mediterranean friends; (case in point: my brother-in-law vacillated between the ubiquitous speedo and baffling winter garb while visiting us in AUGUST) however, cold fingers will not stop the hot music!

Join Titubanda today at 7pm for a joyous parade, beginning at Fulton Hall (corner of Hope and Benevolent), and heading down College Hill to RISD's Market House Square for an 8:30pm concert. From traditional popolo village songs, to "avant-guard jazz via Latin American rhythms and Arabic melodies", Titubanda will leave you crying "Bis!"

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