It would be hard to argue that 2018 wasn’t The Avenue Concept’s (TAC) biggest year yet. Among its many high-profile projects were Peruko Ccopacatty’s Kennedy Plaza sculpture installation in February – a project with roots going back to the ‘90s – and the massive and stunning mural “Still Here,” which Baltimore-based painter Gaia put up in September. Then there was their collaboration with RIPTA, which had two of TAC’s design fellows – Myles Dumas and Colin Gillespie – transform two busses into roving pieces of art which will cycle through bus routes around the state.
“Even though we’ve done a lot of big walls in Providence, [“Still Here”] is so incredibly visible that to me that’s what kind of broke that barrier between people saying, ‘This is cool art’ to ‘Oh, that’s The Avenue Concept helping with that cool art,’” explains executive director Betsy Jones.
2019 doesn’t show any signs of TAC slowing down. Communal workspaces and a digital media area are coming to its recently renovated home on Lockwood Avenue. A 2D program could see new murals go up downtown or see smaller, more intimate pieces in neighborhoods beyond the city center. Old sculptures will come down, but new and exciting works will rise in their place.
“We want to keep a focus on downtown because that’s where so many wonderful, giant walls are. But we don’t want to just be known for downtown. Ultimately, we don’t want to be just public art in Providence, we’d love to help facilitate public art in Rhode Island, regionally, and nationally. Everyone should get to have public art, to experience and enjoy it on an everyday level.”
Supporting local talent and strengthening the relationships they have formed with artists around the US and beyond will ensure that TAC will continue to drive the conversation around public art in Providence.
“Our goal is to build an environment in which art thrives and to create public art encounters that encourage people to engage and interact with art instead of passively observing it,” founder Yarrow Thorne said at an event last summer. “And remember: this is just the beginning.”
Get a chance to meet members of The Avenue Concept and celebrate with RI's leading trailblazers at the first great event of the year, Providence Monthly's Who to Watch Party on January 16 at Skyline at Waterplace! Click here to reserve your ticket to this can't-miss event.