Public art has always been a part of PVDFest. Back in 2015, the Providence International Arts Festival (now PVDFest) partnered with The Avenue Concept on the installation of two large-scale arts murals: Natalia Rak’s Adventure Time and Bezt’s She Never Came. A lot has changed since then, but what remains is a steadfast commitment to elevating local artists and enhancing the public realm.

While the Creative Capital’s bustling streets are uncharacteristically quiet this spring, if you’ve taken a stroll recently, you may have noticed glimpses of art popping up Downtown. Commissioned through a competitive process, three artists were selected to have their work engage audiences and transform the landscape of Downtown. Although this year’s installations won’t be flanked by partygoers and parades, PVDFest’s commitment to art and artists will illuminate the streets until the fall. Great cities—even during times of crisis—activate public spaces for their residents and visitors to enjoy. At a time when we need art’s healing power the most, Providence enthusiastically invites onlookers to experience their work, from a safe distance, of course.

For more information about the artists and their installations, go to Department of Art, Culture + Tourism’s PVDFest Public Art subsite.


The Art + Downtown Locations

City Hall Apron*

corner of Dorrance and Washington
Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground
Artist: Jerold Ehrlich
Saunderstown, Rhode Island

A wine merchant and a construction consultant specializing in historic rehabs, Jerold Ehrlich now spends most of his time thinking and building sculpture. Ehrlich has pieces in the collections of universities, corporations, hotels, and private individuals. He has held solo shows in galleries and museums, and pieces in outdoor sculpture parks.

*In December 2020, the piece was moved to the Michael S. Van Leesten Pedestrian Bridge.

Empire Plaza*

444 Westminster Street
Three Sisters
Artist: Allison Newsome and Deborah Spears Moorehead
Saunderstown, Rhode Island

Allison Newsome is functional sculptor dedicated to the pursuit of sustainability. She wants to help the Earth to heal with unabashed beautifully designed passive utility/sculpture. With ‘Bee Violet’, Newsome will reprise her collaboration with the Anne Meyer’s lab at Rochester University by incorporating its groundbreaking manmade nacre ‘Mother of Pearl.’

Newsome partnered with Seaconke Pokanoket Wampanoag artist Deborah Spears Moorehead for the creation of Bee Violet. 

*The piece was de-installed in November 2020.


Civic Center Garage*

165 Washington Street
Dream Weave
Artist: Karin Giusti
Saunderstown, Rhode Island

Karin F Giusti holds masters in sculpture from Yale University and a Bachelors of Fine Art from University of Massachusetts in Amherst MA. She has lectured widely and her work has been written about in magazines and newspapers including ArtForum, and The New York Times.

*The piece will remain on view through Winter 2021.

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