It's Spring! (Get outside and see some art already!)

Agreed, a light fortnight it has been for posting, patient readers. I've sorely missed these good times as I've been wrangling words for deadlines outside of the cozy blogosphere! Meanwhile, the veil of grey and chill has finally lifted from Providence, leaving behind a shiny blue sky and chorus of twittering birds to punctuate the sneezing of the allergy prone, as Spring swings into full bloom. I couldn't be more thrilled, because I love a good walkabout with gallery stops to fuel the way!

Providence offers its monthly Gallery Night this evening, and I can make a few suggestions, if you are so inclined to join in the fun. All of these shows will be up for some time, so consider it an open invitation to grab some culture!

"Adrift, The Boat Series" by William Schaff

5 Traverse Gallery presents a dual show, featuring large and small-scale mixed media works by Neil T. Walsh (esteemed Director of AS220) and William Schaff. Don't miss Schaff's "Adrift, The Boat Series" (pictured above) in the glass case by the front window!

"Do Cinderblocks Dream of Being Styrofoam?" by Shirley Tse at the RISD Museum

Above: "Do Cinderblocks Dream of Being Styrofoam?" by Shirley Tse

Also on the East Side, get a double-whammy at the RISD Museum (free to the public on Gallery Night!) To spark some conversation, they have "Evolution/Revolution", a textiles innovation and fashion show on the upper level, and the concise and environmentally controversial "Styrofoam" show on view in the lower gallery. Take it all in at 224 Benefit Street, Providence.

Recommended Local Dining: Hungry? Grab some killer sushi at Tokyo, where the rice is small but the fish is large (as it should be). Feel free to BYOB though, as they do not offer a bar menu.

REVIEW: "Sit Down" at Gallery Z

If you haven't yet made your way over to explore the culinary and boutique delights of Providence's Federal Hill neighborhood, tonight's March installment of Gallery Night is the perfect opportunity.

Table by Kallie WeinkleImage: "Table" by Kallie Weinkle

Students from the prestigious RISD furniture design program will host an opening reception for their revealing show "Sit Down - The Process of Furniture Design" at Gallery Z, from 5-9pm. This exhibit, curated by RISD senior Kallie Weinkle, is a rare opportunity for the public to climb inside of the minds and creative processes behind the future stars of furniture design. With selections created from an array of materials ranging from reclaimed industrial scrap wood to newspaper, the exhibit holds discoveries for every taste.

CLICK HERE to read my full exhibit review, written for the March/April issue of Artscope Magazine.

Gallery Z is located at 259 Atwells Ave. Providence, RI 02903. (401) 454-8844

Recommended local dining: Sicilia's Pizza, Costantino's Venda Ravioli

Danger for Valentine's Day

Whether you have amorous plans, or loathe the very thought of this annual convention, consider heading to Firehouse 13 tomorrow evening. To celebrate their unofficial 13-month anniversary, the good folks holding up their end of the Armory district offer the promise of this intimate lineup: (with the added incentive of cartoons, slow-dances, a romantic art gallery, magic and raffles!)

Burlesque by the Danger Danger Birds

Live Music by the Viennagram

Firehouse 13 Valentine's Day Party 021408

Poster by Danger Dan

Reclaim, rework, reveal

While researching the RISD furniture design program for an upcoming Artscope article, I came across this unassuming, secretly magical reclaimed oak sconce on graduate student Zeke Leonard's website. If I ever get to build my coveted wooden A-frame in the wilds of Maine, these will have to line my hallways.

Zeke Leonard - Reclaimed Oak Sconce

REVIEW: Tape Art Artaquarium at 5 Traverse Gallery

Sunday inevitably draws hoards of hungry, bed-headed hipsters out of their pleasant, low-rent pads and into the blustery February streets. If you fall into the above category...congratulations! You've made it this far, and if you happen to be brunching in the Wickenden Street area, take a side-trip around the corner from Utrecht Art Supply to visit 5 Traverse Gallery.

5 Traverse Gallery presents "Tape Art: Artaquarium"

The low-hi tech, community-minded collaborative, Tape Art, will be in residence at the laid-back alternative art space until February 15th, creating a constantly evolving aquarium-themed mural that they are simultaneously filming in stop-animation for a bona fide music video. If you are outside of the Providence area, or are too beaten down by winter to get out of the house, you can covertly monitor the whole process from afar via live webcam.

At the gallery, you can gape at the resident artists through the large front windows.  However, I suggest you get over yourself and step inside for a bit. Feel the crunch of your feet against the gravel curiously strewn on the tarp-covered floor. Ask James, Michael, or any of the resident Tape Artists about their video project, and catch a few frames of the rough edits. You may feel inspired to add to the collaborative aquarium mural in the back room.

Chances are, you, too will be caught on their webcam feed, so IM your hibernating friends and point them to the site. Smile, wave, and don't forget to grab some Swedish Fish on your way out.

Catch a fish at 5 Traverse Gallery, 5 Traverse Street, Providence, RI 02906. Tape Art will be in residence with Artaquarium until February 15th.

Recommended local dining: Brickway on Wickenden, The Blue Elephant

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