Mayor Taveras launches PopUp Providence


Mayor Taveras Launches "PopUp Providence"

Urban space initiative will enliven neighborhoods and engage residents of all ages with interactive artistic and cultural projects

– Mayor Angel Taveras joined city planners, the Providence Redevelopment Agency and community groups today to announce a three-year, citywide demonstration program called PopUp Providence. The purpose of the program is to enliven city spaces and engage residents, workers and visitors in their community with five projects and three mini-projects that include art installations, music instruction and performance, way-finding signage, and a ‘parklet.'

"PopUp Providence will bring vibrancy and civic engagement to our city's dynamic neighborhoods and downtown spaces," said Mayor Angel Taveras.  "Working with our community partners, we are improving our public spaces and providing more opportunities for residents and visitors to reimagine and enjoy spending time in the Capital City."

The projects funded for 2013-2014 will be spread throughout Providence. Program applications, guidelines and a published review process will be made available for the next round of projects slated to occur in summer 2014.

"Providence Redevelopment Agency is proud to partner with the City and community organizations to support PopUp Providence and highlight revitalized public spaces across Providence," said Cliff Wood, vice chairman of the Providence Redevelopment Agency and executive director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy.

First-year projects include:

•         The installation of two "Before I Die" chalkboard walls, where passers-by can share their ‘bucket-list' wishes. This project was initiated by community artist Candy Chang in 2011. Since then it has been replicated in 50 countries across the world.  This project is a joint partnership with Cornish Associates, Building Futures, the Downtown Improvement District and the City's Department of Planning + Development. The project was recently installed in Kennedy Plaza and at Grants Block in Downtown Providence.  

•         A one-month Community MusicWorks ‘pop-up' music studio in a vacant storefront in Upper South Providence, Elmwood or the West End, with free music instruction to neighborhood youth and free community performances throughout the month.  This project will begin in spring 2014.

•         A newly-created ‘parklet' on Thayer Street for passive recreation, which includes seating, tables and plantings. The project is a joint partnership of the Thayer Street District Management Authority and a local architect. The parklet will be constructed in spring 2014.  

•         Life-size, photo-collage figures to be installed in Trinity Square on Broad Street made by AS220's youth arts program. The collage technique was developed at the Rhode Island Training School, and the artwork reflects the cultural heritage and diversity of the Capital City. The life-size figures will complement the work that the City and RIPTA have been doing for the new transit line, the R-line. The figures will be installed this fall.

•         Two durable construction-style banners for Olneyville Square to help brand and market a neighborhood commercial district that is undergoing revival. The banners are 130-feet long and perforated at 30-foot increments, so they may be used across the neighborhood. The banners were installed this fall.

"We are grateful to be partnering with the City as part of PopUp Providence to enhance Olneyville Square as a great destination for culture, industry and nightlife," said Jennifer Hawkins, associate director of the Olneyville Housing Corporation.

The additional mini-projects for spring 2014 include: outdoor Adirondack chairs for waterfront seating; a ping-pong table for seasonal public use in a public setting; and ‘walk-your-city' signs to highlight interesting city landmarks and parks, and to encourage walking and exploring. Funding for the projects was made possible through the Providence Redevelopment Agency, for $50,000 a year over the next three years.

"PopUp Providence is an opportunity to highlight the great work already happening in our City, and to bring it into the public realm to add to the City's vibrancy and enhance the sense of place and community," said Bonnie Nickerson, director of long-term planning for the City of Providence.

"Providence's reputation for an award-winning creative economy and its great confluence of art, cuisine, housing, students, R&D, innovation and design will be enhanced by these neighborhood projects, and remind everyone why our city is fast becoming a world-class attraction," said Economic Development Director James S. Bennett.