Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

Write what you know. Use who you’ve got. A still from our new short Bubble Gum Ice Cream screening this week as part of the 48 Hour Film Project Providence.

You might think it’s insane to sign up to write, direct and edit a film in 48 hours when you’ve got a five-year-old and a one-year-old. We did too, but we did it anyway. The result is the short film Bubble Gum Ice Cream, which will screen this week in Lincoln, RI along with dozens of other films also made in and around Providence, RI this past weekend.

The 48 Hour Film Project began in 2001 and now (in 2012) will inspire thousands of filmmakers to produce nearly 4,000 films in 120 cities on 6 continents. This happens to be our third time participating in the project — the first time was in 2004 in New York City (that film has been forever archived), the second time in Boston in 2008 (which you can watch online), and now here in Providence in 2012. I wonder where we’ll be producing our next film in 2016?

Bubble Gum Ice Cream screens with Group B on Tuesday night at 9:30pm.

48 Hour Film Project, Providence 2012
Date: July 17, 18, 19
Time: 7pm & 9:30pm
Place: Cinema World, 622 George Washington Hwy #321 Lincoln, RI 02865

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It's not the easiest horn to play...

It’s the easiest to play if you stand upside down.

I’m not quite sure why there is a giant horn in front of the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts on Brown Campus. But it’s there, and you can play it if you so desire.

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I just talked up my Providence-oriented RSS reading list to someone I just met, and it seemed appropriate to share: here’s my daily Providence reading list.

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Baby Doll play set available on Etsy in Rhode Island:

If you’re doing some last-minute shopping, that’s all the more reason to keep it local. Here are a few ideas (feel free to post others in the comments) for great children’s gifts that are either invented and/or made in Rhode Island.

Handmade local items at Craftland.

Located on Westminster Street in Providence, this packed little shop sells jewelry, t-shirts, cards, puppet-making kits, toys, you name it. All the items are hand-crafted by regional artists.

Seven Acre Toys
Providence, RI
Wood blocks, rattles, mobiles, teethers and more.

Pockets of Learning
Warren, RI
This children’s toy company makes unique soft toys. We still have the three little pigs set that Madeline got as a gift years ago.  I’m not sure they still make that, but they have a soft tea set that I’m sure Lucy would love.

Local searches in RI
On Etsy, you can find local artisans who make dolls, toys, clothes, etc. A quick search for “children” in Rhode Island brought me to this adorable mini baby set (pictured above), owl wall plaque, and toddler aviator hat. See the full list of children’s items in Rhode Island.

Mill Street Puzzle Company
Newport, RI
Located in Newport’s Historic Hill, this company creates American-made jigsaw puzzles that celebrate American heritage.


Providence, RI
Let’s not forget one of my personal favorites — a word game for the Scrabble-obsessed.

Of course, Hasbro, the maker of Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh and a plethora of other toys and brands is also located in Rhode Island. In fact, it’s one of the big national public companies located in the state (CVS is another), and as such is a major employer here.  Buying Play-Doh doesn’t have the same feel as buying a hand-crafted item. Still, a local job is nothing to scoff at when you’re unemployment rate still exceeds 10 percent…

Who out there has other suggestions?

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Madeline found a cello made of legos at the Narrows Gallery exhibit.

When Lucy started to crawl, I moved Madeline’s ten pounds of legos out of the girls’ room and into the living room. I feared that the tiny brightly colored pieces would make too tempting a snack for an infant.

The Narrows Gallery's exhibit "The Art of the Brick" is open through November 19, 2011.

But Madeline seldom went to the living room to play with them. What was once her favorite activity was no longer part of her daily play.

So I decided, it was time to bring back the legos.

Yesterday, we drove to Fall River where the Narrows Gallery is currently hosting a free art exhibit of work by New York artist Nathan Sawaya. The pieces, entirely made of legos, don’t match the intricacy of the displays at Lego World (in Germany we saw a lego stadium with 30,000 lego people fans), but they were inventive — a giant pencil writing the word yes, a yellow man with an open chest pouring out legos (which Madeline said looked like a jack-o-lantern), and a full size cello.

Lego walls down the hall give children the opportunity to build their own lego art.

Of course, it’s hard enough to prevent kids from touching art when it’s not made of legos, so wisely the center set up an accompanying build-your-own exhibit down the hall with logo walls so low even Lucy could try her hand at building.

The exhibit inspired Madeline to build her own at home too — so far she’s made her own lego family, a sewing machine, and a robot. Legos are now strewn all over the kitchen and our bedroom floor. Lucy loves running her hands through the giant bucket of legos. As expected, I have caught her eating one a few times, but so far she hasn’t swallowed any. At least, I don’t think she has.

Madeline's lego girls.

The Art of the Brick
through November 19, 2011
Narrows Gallery
16 Anawan Street
Fall River, MA

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Madeline creates her own art during the RISD Museum's Tours for Tots.

Someone recently asked Madeline what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“Well,” she replied. “I’m already getting started. I’m an artist.”

So apparently in support of her current career, we visited the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum yesterday during their Tours for Tots. The hour-long program, which continues Thursdays in June, offers children ages 3-5 an interactive tour of one of the museum’s exhibits, along with a chance to create their own art. Yesterday’s tour brought us to the wooden Dainichi Nyorai Buddha, which sits 9-feet tall in its own dimly lit gallery. The children learned the story of Siddhartha, as they discovered how to sit and think like Buddha. We then moved to an open room where the kids spread out on the floor and created their own crayon drawings inspired by the story. The event ended with all of the new ‘artwork’ on display for everyone to admire.

A still from Schnitt's "Once Upon a Time"

Each week brings a different tour, so you can attend more than once. And while you’re there, you can get your fix of Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and other masterpieces, along with some less traditional art like Sarah Sze’s notepad cut into a tiny and intricate fire escape or Corinna Schnitt’s video loop Once Upon a Time, which shows what happens in an unsupervised room full of chickens, cats, birds, fish, bunnies and a goat. Who says art museums are for adults?

RISD Museum
Tours for Tots

Thursdays June 2, 9, 16, 23 at 2 pm – 2:45 pm
(meets in the Chace Lobby, free with museum admission) (also see family programs)

Sarah Sze
artist website | exhibit info

Corinna Schnitt
artist website | exhibit info

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The Columbus Theatre makes the list of the one of the most endangered properties in Providence this year. Trigphotography image taken by Frank C. Grace.

The exact month we moved to Providence (August 2009), the Columbus Theatre on Broadway was ordered closed by city inspectors. Apparently the theatre was overdue for fire code upgrades that would cost over $100,000, which owner Jon Berberian couldn’t afford. As one of the few independent theatres in the city, they had hosted the Rhode Island International Film Festival and Picture Start Film Series. Ever since its closing, the theatre has sat dark with an “opening soon” sign hanging outside.

This past week, the Providence Preservation Society released its annual “Ten Most Endangered Properties” list and included the Columbus Theatre. The purpose of the list is to generate a priority list of historic structures in jeopardy and to work with property owners, developers and other interested parties to effect a positive change in the building’s status. Some of the properties featured on past lists have been saved, such as The Foundry, now the apartment building The Promenade, or the Shepard Building, now home to URI’s Providence campus.

The Providence Preservation Society welcomes members and accepts donations to support their preservation advocacy work. Let’s hope this is the year for these buildings to be revitalized. I can’t wait to start shopping in The Arcade on Westminister Street…

Providence Preservation Society
21 Meeting Street
Providence, RI

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