PUBLIC ART IN PAWTUCKET

Commentary and Photographs on this page are the property of Joan Hausrath, all rights reserved.

The City of Pawtucket's commitment to the arts can be visually documented by the number of installations of public art that exist in the city.  Some of these projects have involved the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative while others have had the support of the Pawtucket Arts Festival, the City of Pawtucket, the Pawtucket Foundation, the Pawtucket business community, the State of Rhode Island, and private individuals.  

MURALS

The History of Pawtucket by Brent Alan Bachelder
The wall of the Lynch Ice Arena at 25 Andrew Ferland Way depicts the history of Pawtucket beginning with the Revolution and ending with the 21st century.  Along the top of the mural is a time-line depicting all of the American presidents and technological inventions. While the beginning of the mural on the left illustrates Samuel Slater and the birth of the Industrial Revolution in Pawtucket, the end includes the PawSox, the Pawtucket Arts Festival, and fireworks.
The mural was created in 2004 as a joint project between the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, the City of Pawtucket, and Club Neopolsi Design Studio. The artist was Brent Alan Bachelder. To see photos of the wall before, during, and after the project, click here.

We Are the Future
Located on the side of a building located on North Union and visible from the parking lot of the China Inn is a mural created in 2009 by the Teens of My Turn, Inc.  The mural depicts a globe flanked by a pink bird and butterfly with a number of symbols referencing the arts and sports.  The lead artist was Dauna Jean Noble.

Berger Recycling Commerative Mural  by Fisiha Likke
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Berger Recycling, the company commissioned  Fisiha Likke to paint a 50 foot long mural on the side of one of their buildings located on Front Street.  The mural documents the history of the family owned business with scenes from its history along with images of Pawtucket landmarks.  For more information about the mural and Berger Recycling, click here.

Pawtucket Parking Garage
In 2005, a group of artists created a decorative mural on the first level of the parking garage at the corner of Park Place North and Main Street.  The project was supported by the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative and the Pawtucket Foundation.  Bold decorative motifs in black, white and red adorn three walls of the garage while existing, skillfully rendered graffiti was preserved on one of the walls.  Artists included Mimo Gordan Riley, Morris Nathanson, Regina Partridge, Nancy Gaucher-Thomas, Liz Pannell and Kenn Speiser.

Gold Machinery Mural
The Gold Machinery building is located at the corner of Newell Avenue and Thurston Street. On the side of the building is a mural depicting machine equipment. 

The World
Among the murals created by children at the Curvin McCabe Elementary School on Cottage Street is a mural created by Gretchen Dow Simpson, Mimo Riley Gordon, Marianne Purviance, and Don Chabot.  The mural depicts a flattened globe showing the northern hemisphere in bright yellows, golds and blues.

Pleasant View: A Neighborhood that Cares
In a park/playground at the corner of Broadway and the Geo. Bennett Highway is a building with a mural depicting children enjoying recreational activities along a river.  A map of the Pleasant View section of Pawtucket also appears on the wall.  The mural was created with the support of the City of Pawtucket and the Pleasant View Business Association.

Sperry Street Playground
On Sperry Street, one block from Pawtucket Avenue and across from the Woodlawn Community Center, is a playground with a free-standing wall with murals on both sides.  Figures engaged in a variety of athletic activities appears on one side while a landscape filled with animals and a fellow fishing are illustrated on the reverse side.

Park Place Building
Two sides of an empty building at the corner of Park Place West and Bayley Street are painted with ornately decorative patterns and flowers. 

Route I-95 Murals by Gretchen Dow Simpson
As part of Governor Lincoln Chafee's Beautification Program, Gretchen Dow Simpson was commissioned to design a mural that appears on retaining walls along I-95 beteen Exits 29 and 28. The mural appears on both the east and west side of the highway. Designed by Dow Simpson and painted by Johan Bjurman in 2012 and Munir D. Mohammed in 2013, the murals depict repeated images of a corner of the interior of a mill buiding on Cottage Street in Pawtucket. Dow Simpson, a Providence resident, maintains a studio in Pawtucket and is an active member of several area arts organizations. She is best known for illustrating 58 covers of New Yorker Magazine. For more about the mural project.

 

SCULPTURE

Conocular by William Martin
Dedicated in 2001, Conocular was displayed on Main Street in front of the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center until September, 2011, when it was relocated to the side of the building on High Street. The work was sponsored by the Narragansett Electric Company, Rhode Island Council on the Arts, and the Pawtucket Arts Festival. The construction of a base for its relocation was supported by the City of Pawtucket and the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency.

William Martin received a BFA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a MFA from Louisiana State University. In addition to the more typical mediums of wood and steel he also works in blacksmithing and iron casting. His work has been included in numerous national exhibitions and collections. A few noteworthy examples would include DeCordova Sculpture Park, Convergence Outdoor Sculpture in Providence RI, Indiana State University, New Orleans Hilton Riverside Paul Buckley Collection, and The Fidelity Investment Collection. Martin teaches sculpture at Rhode Island College.

Eiffel Tower by Donald Gerola
Located in Slater Park, Eiffel Tower was dedicated in 2006.  It was sponsored by the Pawtucket Arts Festival Executive Committee.

Weaving the Blackstone by Donald Gerola
Weaving the Blackstone (2011) is an installation of thousands of feet of colorful cords stretched across the Blackstone River next to the historic Slater Mill.  Sponsored by the Pawtucket Arts Festival and Schofield Printing, the installation references the textile industry of the area.

Donald Gerola studied physics at the University of Dayton, Ohio, then began his art career as a muralist before moving on to steel sculptures.  Many of his sculptures involve movement facilitated by wind or water. Gerola has work in numerous sculpture collections throughout the northeast including the Town of Hyannis, MA, the Cape Cod Art Association, the Springfield (MA) Art Museum, and Sussex County Community College, Newton, NJ.  Click here to visit Donald Gerola's website.

Jacks by Kenn Speiser
Jacks, a three part sculpture was commissioned by the Pawtucket Arts Festival in 2001. It was funded by the Rhode Island Council on the Arts, Narragansett Electric, and the Pawtucket Teachers' Alliance and is located in Slater Park.

Kenn Speiser graduated from Rhode School Design and has numerous sculptures in public, corporate, and private locations. For more about Speiser.

Fanny by Chris Kane
Fanny is a fiberglass sculpture located in Slater Park.  It was commissioned in 2007 by the Pawtucket Arts Festival and depicts an elephant that was housed in the Slater Park Zoo for more than thirty years. In 1993, Fanny was relocated to the Black Beauty Ranch in Texas by animal rights activists who felt that she was not receiving proper care in Pawtucket.  Fanny thrived for ten years in her new home before she died at the age of 59.  In 2003 the Providence Journal published an obituary, Farwell to Fanny. Click here to read it.

Chris Kane is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design. A number of his sculptural works are located in public spaces around Rhode Island. Click here  to visit his website.

The Hiker by Allen G. Newman (1875-1940)
The Hiker is located in the park at the intersections of Exchange, Cottage, Grove and and Spring Streets. Created by Allen G. Newman, it commemorates the veterans of the Spanish American War. It was erected in 1922 by the J.J. Woolley Camp United Spanish War Veterans, Citizens of Pawtucket and Blackstone Valley.  Newman copyrighted The Hiker in 1904 and it was cast by Jno. Williams Co. of New York City. The Hiker was the official monument of the Veterans of the Spanish American War and castings were placed at no less than twenty other locations in the country. For a list, click here.  The name "hiker" was the term infantry men used to address one another casually in the 19th century; "Hello, Hiker!" was a common greeting.

Allen George Newman was born in New York and studied at the National Academy of Design. He is known for his monumental sculptures that are placed throughout the country. To learn more about Newman, click here.

Collyer Monument by Charles Parker Dowler (1841-1931)

Located at the corner of Mineral Spring Avenue and Main Street, the historic monumnet honors Pawtucket firefighters. Samuel S. Collyer, born in 1832, was killed on July 27, 1884, when a fire engine he was riding in overturned while enroute to a fire. At the time, Collyer was Cheif Engineer for the Pawtucket Fire Department. He is depicted in his firemen's attire, holding a megaphone. Below is a bronze relief depicting the tragic accident.

The monument was created by Charles Parker Dowler, an artist active in the Providence area during the late 1800's. Dowler came to Rhode Island from Birmingham, England, in 1863 as a gunsmith to produce weapons for the Civil War. His career evolved to creating sculptures, carving interior and exterior decorative work, and folk art. More about Dolwer.