PVDFest Ideas: Hope in the Ever-living Now

PVDFest Ideas: Hope in the Ever-living Now

On July 5, PVDFest presented “Hope in the Ever-living Now,” a live virtual event featuring new works of poetry, prose, and creative writing for performance in response to Frederick Douglass’ ‘What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?’. The work has been performed countless times in the 169 years since its debut, often in the days following Independence Day celebrations, offering a contemplative counterpoint to lively barbecues and fireworks displays....

Taking Our Commemorative Landscape Seriously

When ACT published the City of Providence Art in City Life Plan in April 2018, our team was excited and challenged by the call from Via Partners to refrain from lumping consideration of memorials and monuments together with public art works. The Plan, nearly 35 years in the making, recommended that we should create a separate body in addition to the recommended Art in City Life Commission that would determine the “social and merit” of newly proposed and existing...

Commemoration and Legacy

The traditional uses of commemoration in America are various—but often include a nostalgic reaching for a perceived “better time.” In recent years the RIHS has viewed commemoration as a chance to complicate our understanding of the past, to explore (and to fill) the silences which have been hitherto elided or ignored. We have also tried to make more connections between the achievements of people in the past and the achievements of present influencers. This effort...

Tell Me Your Story

Hypothesis: The experience of Providence is deeper and richer when it is connected to stories of the city’s history. The theme of commemoration and legacy for PVDFest Ideas 2021 made me remember a friend’s greeting on his answering machine: “Human beings crave narrative. Tell me your story.” Cities are active places of engagement where stories of what is and what used to be are apparent to the people navigating streets, buildings, parks, and parking lots....

Commemoration-By-Doing: the Role of Live Arts in Conversations of Legacy

As producers of live events, we at FirstWorks are inherently concerned with the memory of shared experiences; it is from the vantage of live arts that we approach concepts of legacy and commemoration. Commemoration has a connotation of finality which comes with being in the past, as if the event or occasion being commemorated is immutable because time exists between it and us. In reality, a commemorated event is not a static stake in the ground, but collectively...

A Library is a Monument

A library is a monument. For Providence Public Library this identity is both literal and figurative. Our building’s architecture itself is a combination of the Romanesque Revival architecture of Gilded Age progressivism and the Brutalist promises of strength and transparency; emblems and sentiments intended to stand eternally in stone. Figuratively, too, libraries have long functioned to exhibit what should be remembered and who gets to remember it. Like all...
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