Providence, Rhode Island, Brown, Art, Culture, History, Creative, Culinary
Providence, Rhode Island is an historic little city with an artistic flair. Few people take notice of this unique place that is sandwiched between progressive New York City and Historic Boston. Providence takes bits and pieces from both and blends it into its own mini version of creative indulgence and cultural heritage.
Bert Gallery, Inc was founded in 1985 by Hugo Bert and Catherine Little Bert to showcase and preserve the rich art tradition of Rhode Island. Located in the Providence Biltmore Hotel in downtown for seven years, the gallery re-located in 1992 to its present location along the historic Old Harbor waterfront at 540 South Water Street.
With the move, Catherine Little Bert became sole proprietor. The gallery expanded its exhibition schedule to include regional contemporary artists along with launching a series of exhibitions of 19th century Rhode Island artists. Keeping to the mission of researching, showcasing and preserving paintings from the region, Catherine has organized over fifty exhibits dedicated to trends and styles embraced by New England artists.
These efforts continue with a dedicated exhibition space, the Studio Collection, which offers visitors an opportunity to view the historic inventory and the artists' estates managed by the gallery.
http://www.bertgallery.com (less) Bert Gallery, Inc was founded in 1985 by Hugo Bert and Catherine Little Bert to showc...(more)
Category: Art Gallery
Address: 540 South Water Street, Providence, RI
Address: Moshassuck Court, Providence, RI
John Brown House
One of America's grandest mansions when completed in 1788, the house at 52 Power Street was home first to John Brown, a businessman, patriot, politician, China Trade pioneer and slave trader who participated in the debates and practices that shaped the new nation and the world. However, this is more than an eighteenth century mansion. It was the home of John Brown's daughters and their families; the winter residence of the elegant Gammell family during the second half of the nineteenth century; the formidable mansion of Providence utility, real estate and trolley mogul, Marsden Perry in the early twentieth century. Today this magnificent and elegant building serves as a place in which the public can learn about these men and women who helped to create Rhode Island's capital city.
Hours: April 1 to November 30: Tuesdays through Fridays: Tours begin at 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm Saturdays: Tours begin at 10:30 am, 12:00 noon, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm Closed July 4, 2009
December 1 -19: Fridays and Saturdays: Tours begin at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm
Closed December 21 through January 1, 2010
January 2 through March 31: Fridays and Saturdays: Tours begin 10:30 am, 12:00 noon, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm
Tickets: Adults: $8 Seniors and Students: $6 (less) One of America's grandest mansions when completed in 1788, the house at 52 Power Stre...(more)
Category: Historical Location
Address: 52 Power Street, Providence, RI
Roger Williams National Memorial
Roger Williams National Memorial was established by Congress in 1965 to commemorate Williams's "outstanding contributions to the development of the principles of freedom in this country."
The memorial, a 4.5 acre urban green-space located at the foot of College Hill in downtown Providence, includes a freshwater spring which was the center of the settlement of Providence Plantations founded by Williams in 1636.
It is on this site that Williams, through word and action, fought for the ideal that religion must not be subject to regulation by the state but, instead, that it should be a matter of individual conscience.
It was a remarkable journey that brought Williams to what is now the capital of Rhode Island and to where he put his beliefs into practice, giving "shelter for persons distressed of conscience."
http://www.nps.gov/rowi (less) Roger Williams National Memorial was established by Congress in 1965 to commemorate W...(more)
Category: Historical Location
Thomas Street Historic Homes & Providence Art Club
Along Thomas Street, in the shadow of the First Baptist Church, stands a picturesque procession of historic houses, home to the studios, galleries and clubhouse of the Providence Art Club.
Said to be the oldest art club in the nation after the Salmagundi Club in New York, the distinguished Providence institution has been here so long that no one can remember a time when Thomas Street was not synonymous with the Providence Art Club.
In 1880 a group of professional artists, amateurs, and art collectors founded the Providence Art Club to stimulate the appreciation of art in the community. This new club would exist "for art culture" the founders proposed, and when they met to draw up their charter one February night in 1880, they inscribed that phrase on their seal.
What they needed, the 16 founding men and women decided was a place to gather, and an exhibition gallery where artists could show their work and collectors could find good pictures. Within a month they had enlisted 128 members. Within six months the art club had leased an entire floor of a large building for studios and gallery space, where its first anniversary loan exhibition drew 1500 visitors in two weeks.
Soon the Club had outgrown its quarters, and by the winter of 1887 it had moved to its present home on Thomas Street. Club members established a Club House in the 1790 Obadiah Brown House, where they combined its second and third floors to create a grand exhibition gallery flooded with daylight from the windows in its roof monitor. There the Art Club holds its dramatic presentations, musical evenings, and lectures.
On the ground floor the founders preserved the old kitchen and dining room, where they gathered at lunch for Rhode Island jonny-cakes - a tradition still observed today. The artists furnished the Club House with tables and chairs of their own design and construction. They decorated the fresh plaster with ornamental friezes and then painted the silhouette profiles of club members on the walls. They made fantastic wrought iron andirons for the fireplace and lined the shelves with their beer steins.
Paneled with the original wooden shutters saved from the old windows, the Club House is renowned for having some of the most comfortable and charming interiors in Providence.
http://www.providenceartclub.org/ (less) Along Thomas Street, in the shadow of the First Baptist Church, stands a picturesque ...(more)
Category: Historical Location
The First Baptist Church
The Meeting House, built in 1774 to 1775, was the largest building project in New England at that time. The building, 80 by 80 feet, seated 1,200 people, equal to one third of Providence's population then.
The construction was greatly aided by the fact that the British had closed the port of Boston as punishment for the Boston Tea Party. Many shipwrights and carpenters were thrown out of work and came to Providence to build the meetinghouse.
The structure was dedicated in May 1775 and the 185 foot steeple was added shortly thereafter. This was the first Baptist meetinghouse in New England to have a steeple. The steeple went up in three and a half days, and it has survived time and hurricanes since then.
The architecture is a blend of English Georgian and the traditional New England meetinghouse style. The Georgian aspects, borrowed from Anglican church designs, include the exterior portico and steeple and many interior elements, such as the Palladian window behind the high pulpit, the fluted Tuscan columns, the groined arches in the balcony, and the split pediments over the doors. All of this was superimposed on a plain, New England meetinghouse, with its white walls, clear glass windows, dominant pulpit, and lack of any religious symbols. The iconoclastic Baptists regarded all symbols, even the cross as icons and idols. A grand chandelier from Waterford, Ireland, was added in 1792.
In the 19th century the auditorium underwent many changes, including new pews (1832), adding an organ (1834), and interior baptistry (1838), several gas chandeliers (1850s), painted ceilings, and an addition to the rear of the building with a memorial stained glass window (1884). In 1957 former member John D. Rockefeller, Jr. made a gift to enable the church to restore the Meeting House mostly to its original appearance.
Today the Meeting House, a national historic landmark building, is regarded as one of the "must see" places in Providence for anyone interested in American architecture. (less) The Meeting House, built in 1774 to 1775, was the largest building project in New Eng...(more)
Category: Historical Location
Address: 75 North Main St, Providence, RI
Nightingale Brown House
Built in 1792 for Joseph Nightingale, the Nightingale-Brown House, a National Historic Landmark, serves as the headquarters of the John Nicholas Brown Center and Brown University's program in public humanities. Nicholas Brown purchased the home in 1814 from Nightingale's heirs, becoming the first of five successive generations of the Brown family to live in the house.
Over the years, the Brown family adapted the Georgian-style mansion and its surrounding property to meet the needs and tastes of each generation. The Nightingale-Brown House now includes additions built for scholar and bibliophile John Carter Brown by architects Thomas Tefft (1853) and Richard Upjohn (1862-64); the firm of Boston landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed the garden and grounds in 1890; and during the 1920s John Nicholas Brown redecorated the house in classical European and American colonial motifs.
From 1985 to 1993, the Nightingale-Brown House underwent extensive renovation to correct structural problems including rot, termite infestation, and unintended damage from past alterations. Structural engineers reinforced the inadequate original post-and-beam framing with steel; carpenters restored interior woodwork and decorative details; and the living spaces and furnishings on the first floor were returned to their early-twentieth-century appearance.
The Center is named after John Nicholas Brown II, whose interests included art and architecture, historic preservation, and philanthropy. His widow and children established the Center in his memory after his death, and it became part of Brown University in 1995. (less) Built in 1792 for Joseph Nightingale, the Nightingale-Brown House, a National Histori...(more)
Category: Historical Location
First Unitarian Church
The First churches in the Providence Plantations were Baptist. It was not until 1720 that there were enough congregationalists in the colony to make it possible to establish a church of the congregational way. At about this time a small group began meeting together and in 1723 erected "a house of worship.up Rosemary Lane from Towne Street." This was at the corner of the present College and Benefit streets, where the Providence County Court House now stands.
In 1728 they called their first minister, the Reverend Josiah Cotton. He has left us a fascinating story, part church record, part personal diary, which tells us much about life in Providence in those days.
http://www.firstunitarianprov.org/about/history.shtml (less) The First churches in the Providence Plantations were Baptist. It was not until 1720 ...(more)
Category: Historical Location
Address: 1 Benevolent St., Providence, RI
John Hay Library
The John Hay Library houses the University Library's collections of rare books and manuscripts, the University Archives, and many special collections on a wide variety of topics. Notable areas of strength include American literature and popular culture, political and diplomatic history, the history of science, book arts and graphics.
The Library is open to the public, upon presentation of photo id, 9-6 Monday through Friday, and 1-5 on Sundays during the academic year; see the full schedule of hours for summer hours, and holiday and exam periods. The John Hay Library is a closed stack, non-circulating library. Users are encouraged to consult curatorial and subject specialist staff for assistance in locating and using materials. User services include tours and class presentations, reproduction services, and course and personal reserves.
The John Hay Library opened in November 1910, serving from that time until 1964 as the main library of the University. It was designed in the English Renaissance style by the eminent Boston architectural firm of Shepley Rutan & Coolidge. The Library is named for John Hay, class of 1858, who served as Abraham Lincoln's private secretary during the Civil War and later became Secretary of State. His papers and personal library form part of the collections at the John Hay.
http://library.brown.edu/about/hay/history/ (less) The John Hay Library houses the University Library's collections of rare books and ma...(more)
Category: Historical Location
Address: 20 Prospect St, Providence, RI
University Hall & College Green
Category: Historical Location
Mowry-Nicholson House Bed & Breakfast
Mowry-Nicholson House Bed and Breakfast is conveniently located and walking distance to Brown and other Universities, downtown attractions, Providence Place Mall, and several great restaurants & galleries.
Once on the Providence Preservation Society's Top Ten Endangered List, the Mowry-Nicholson House is a newly renovated Victorian Bed and Breakfast Inn. This 1856 architectural jewel offers 13 comfortable rooms and suites and a large side porch with panoramic views of historic Providence, Rhode Island. The house is named for the first two owners of the house, both of whom were important to Providence's rich manufacturing history.
The inn came close to being demolished in 2001 - 2002, before it was restored and converted to a unique bed and breakfast inn. As well as being on the National Historic Register, Mowry-Nicholson House has been awarded a Three Diamond AAA rating and the Yankee Magazine "Editors' Choice" designation.
http://www.providence-suites.com (less) Mowry-Nicholson House Bed and Breakfast is conveniently located and walking distance ...(more)
Address: 57 Brownell Street, Providence, RI
Christopher Dodge House Bed & Breakfast
The Christopher Dodge House Bed and Breakfast, is conveniently located within walking distance from Providence Place Mall, downtown Providence, Brown and other Universities. This Rhode Island Bed and Breakfast Inn is a stunning 3-story brick Italianate mansion newly renovated into a luxury bed and breakfast.
One of the few small luxury hotels in Providence, RI, the Providence bed and breakfast is truly an architectural gem featuring 11 foot ceilings, marble fireplace mantels, ornate plaster moldings and many original tin ceilings.
Built in 1858, the inn served as the primary residence of the Dodge family until 1901 when it was converted to an apartment house. A century of rental use took its toll on the property and it was the pleasure of the present proprietors, Kenneth and Phyllis Parker and Frank and Monica Hopton, to restore it to it's original stately grandeur as they converted it to a luxury bed and breakfast hotel.
http://www.providence-hotel.com (less) The Christopher Dodge House Bed and Breakfast, is conveniently located within walking...(more)
Address: 11 West Park Street, Providence, RI
Veterans Memorial Auditorium Art & Cultural Center
Veterans Memorial Auditorium (VMA) is located on the revitalized Avenue of the Arts. With just over 1,900 seats, VMA is acclaimed for its unique combination of size and intimacy, enjoyed by both audience and performer. On the National Register of Historic Places, the VMA is celebrated for its proscenium stage and exquisite interior.
The 1920's saw the rise of grand Masonic complexes across the United States. As part of the movement, the Rhode Island Freemasons planned an ambitious complex designed by Osgood & Osgood, one of the era's noted architectural firms. Work began in 1927, and foundations and building frames were constructed before economic times changed drastically in 1929. Work was halted, and the project lay dormant until the 1940's.
By the 1940's, the State of Rhode Island took over the project. Near the end of World War II, the community pushed to complete the Auditorium component as Rhode Island's first professional performing arts venue.
On January 27, 1950 the Auditorium was officially opened. The dedication plaque reads: "The Veterans Memorial Building is dedicated as a living memorial to all Rhode Island Veterans in recognition of their patriotic service in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during times of war." - Governor John O. Pastore
Over the first three decades of operation, scores of legendary performers illuminated VMA's stage, including such classical and contemporary greats as Pavarotti, Nureyev and Tony Bennett.
In the 1990's a community groundswell to save VMA, coupled with public investment to partially refurbish and restore the Auditorium, provided the impetus for resuming performances and community traditions. Today Veterans Memorial Auditorium is a treasure for all to experience.
http://www.vmari.com (less) Veterans Memorial Auditorium (VMA) is located on the revitalized Avenue of the Arts. ...(more)
Address: 83 Park Street, Providence, RI
Rhode Island State House
Sitting prominently on Smith Hill in Providence, the Rhode Island State House is a landmark visible from most of downtown and many approaching highways. The building is a testament to Rhode Island's political, cultural and economic standing at the turn of the century.
Designed by the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, construction of the State House began in 1895 and continued until 1901. The completed building is 330 feet long, 180 feet wide and 233 feet high.
Built of white marble with a large central dome and two wings, the State House follows the form established for bicameral legislative buildings by the United States Capital Building in Washington, D.C. It includes a central entrance rotunda flanked by two wings. Carved in the marble over the pillared porticoes are quotations and historical chronologies of Rhode Island and its history. On the top of the dome stands the statue of the Independent Man.
Throughout the rotunda are battle flags, statues and guns representing Rhode Island's military past. In the center of the rotunda, under the marble dome, is a brass replica of the state seal including an anchor and the word "Hope". Looking upward, you will see the beautiful murals painted when the State House was refurbished in the 1940's.
The wings contain the legislative chambers, with offices around the external walls. The Senate Chamber includes the seals of the thirteen original colonies in the arch over the Rostrum with Rhode Island's in the center. In the opposite wing is the House chamber.
In addition to the House and Senate chambers, the main floor contains the State House Library and the State Reception Room. The State Reception Room is the most lavish of the public rooms. Decorated in the Louis XIV style with marble pilasters lining the walls, the room contains the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington.
http://state.ri.us (less) Sitting prominently on Smith Hill in Providence, the Rhode Island State House is a la...(more)
FOUNDING The development of the Rhode Island School of Design and its museum is tied to Rhode Island's emergence after the Civil War as the most heavily industrialized state in the Union and to the growing desire for better design in manufacturing. With the region's prosperity based on the production of silverware, jewelry, machine tools, steam engines, files, screws, and textiles, leading manufacturers as well as civic leaders felt the need for industrial-arts education and exposure to examples of fine art. Even before the war, the Rhode Island Art Association, chartered in 1854, determined "to establish in Providence a permanent Art Museum and Gallery of the Arts and Design." In the absence of either state funding or private donations, however, the creation of a design school and art museum in Rhode Island did not occur until 1877. Faced with a choice between erecting a drinking fountain in Roger Williams Park or founding a school of design—the latter proposed by Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf (1830-1895)—the Rhode Island Women's Centennial Commission in that year voted to establish the Rhode Island School of Design by allocating to it the modest $1,675 remaining from its fund-raising for the Women's Pavilion at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
CHARTER RISD's Act of Incorporation listed three objectives—instruction, career training, and "the general advancement of public art education by the collection of and exhibition of works of art." The language of its revised (1893) charter expressed the school's close alliance with industry: it sought to instruct "artisans in drawing, painting, modeling, and designing, that they may successfully apply the principles of Art to the requirements of trade and manufacture." From the outset, works of art served as models for instruction, first in classrooms and, as the collection grew, in a separate museum structure. Today, as throughout its history, the RISD Museum is an integral part of Rhode Island School of Design and the principal art museum for the city, state and southeastern New England.
FACILITY The Museum is composed of five buildings on a sloping city block between Main and Benefit Streets on the historic East Side of Providence. The first public galleries were created in 1893 in the Waterman building, which today highlights 19th century American paintings and changing exhibitions. Pendleton House, the country's first Museum wing devoted to the display of American decorative arts, was built in 1906 as a replica of the Federal-style residence of Charles L. Pendleton. The Eliza G. Radeke building was added in 1926 and houses permanent collection galleries, from Egyptian and Ancient art, through Impressionism, to 20th century art and design. The Daphne Farago wing, erected in 1993, exhibits contemporary art and provides the Benefit Street entrance to the Museum. In 2008, the Chace Center opened with 6000 square feet for special exhibitions and a Museum entrance on Main Street.
TODAY The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, also known as the RISD Museum, is Rhode Island's leading museum of fine and decorative art, housing a collection of 84,000 objects of international significance. It is southeastern New England's only comprehensive art museum and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. The RISD Museum strives to be a vital cultural resource by educating and inspiring a wide variety of audiences: families and individuals, scholars and researchers, artists and designers, and students of all ages. The Museum maintains an active program of exhibitions, lectures, tours, workshops and publications dedicated to the interpretation of art and design from diverse cultures ranging from ancient times to the present.
open: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am-5pm. The Museum stays open until 9pm on the third Thursday of the month (except December)
closed: The Museum is closed for the month of August, all Mondays, January 1, July 4, Thanksgiving Day, December 25
Admission is "pay-what-you-wish" every Sunday, 10am-1pm; free to all: 5-9pm on Gallery Night, the third Thursday of each month (except December); and for Free-For-All Saturdays, the last Saturday of each month (except December).
General Admission Adults: $10 Seniors: $7 Youths (5-18): $3 (less) FOUNDING The development of the Rhode Island School of Design and its museum is tied ...(more)