PVDFest Ideas 2021: Commemoration and Legacy


PVDFest Ideas is a forum for big thinking in public. 

In the wake of a devastating global pandemic with economic and social impacts creating shock waves we cannot yet sense in totality; and seismic uprisings for Black life that have shaken the twin myths of white supremacy and color blindness;

We need big ideas more than ever.

What will Providence residents remember from this “unprecedented” year? 

How might descendants of Providence commemorate the legacies of 2020-2021? 

PVDFest Ideas invites submissions for public programming from community curators that foreground the concepts of commemoration and legacy. All PVDFest Ideas programs will take place between mid-June 2021, and late September 2021.

Programs do not have to have a “scholarly” angle, per se, but they should consider humanities methods such as connection, bridge building, empathy, and understanding across differences.

While panel discussions are welcome, we encourage you to imagine how programs might take advantage of virtual, hybrid, socially distanced, and other adaptive platforms that blur lines between learning, practicing, performing, making and thinking collectively in public. We’re thinking audio walking tours, pop-up exhibitions, outdoor screenings and scavenger hunts, but the sky is the limit, as long as you are following the State of Rhode Island’s current guidelines.



PVDFest Ideas’ producing partners hail from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities (RICH), the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) and the Providence Public Library (PPL). ACT and this group will review submissions in early June for inclusion in Phase I (June 21 – July 30). Partners will again review applications in late July for Phase II (August 1 – September 30).

Programs selected for promotion under the PVDFest Ideas umbrella will be incorporated into the PVDFest Ideas online schedule on a rolling basis until the conclusion of September 2021. A small amount of funding for selected programs will be made available through ACT’s micro-grants. Grants will be no larger than $500. For more information on funding see the submission form linked below.

Not sure if your program is appropriate for PVDFest Ideas? Contact ACT Special Projects Manager Micah Salkind: msalkind@providenceri.gov – he will be happy to talk through it with you. For additional prompts, see the producing partners curatorial essays below.


PVDFest Ideas Producing Partners Curatorial Essays

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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Previous Events – 2021

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