Events and a Life-Sized Bronze Statue Honor Providence Artist Edward Mitchell Bannister

Celebrations honoring a historic city visionary continue


In 1880, a group of artists and art enthusiasts founded the Providence Art Club; among them was Edward Mitchell Bannister, an award-winning African American artist, intellectual, abolitionist, and philanthropist who spent the later years of his life working with his wife Christiana Carteaux Bannister to put Providence on the cultural map. In 2017, a street on College Hill was renamed to honor the couple, and more recently the club created The Bannister Community Art Project (BCAP) to keep his legacy top of mind.

According to BCAP co-chair Nancy Gaucher-Thomas, the project helps initiate “a public dialogue that encourages community partnerships and hopes to build and foster cross-cultural relationships.” The crown jewel is a bronze life-sized sculpture by Pawtucket artist Gage Prentiss. Financed by public/private donations and grants, it will reside at Market Square (RISD) and have a plaque with a QR code to access information about Bannister’s life and times. The unveiling is set to occur during PVDFest (September 8-10), where on Sunday, a team of “pied pipers” will lead people to the dedication ceremony.

Festivities began in May and will close out in November with Bannister’s 195th birthday. These programs and events have not only emphasized Bannister’s artistic influence, but also honor both he and his wife as activists, entrepreneurs, and abolitionists.

“We have had a love affair with Edward and Christiana Bannister, lifting them up through countless lectures, exhibits, and walking tours,” say Ray Rickman and Robb Dimmick, founders of Stages of Freedom, a non-profit dedicated to African American causes. “We are thrilled that 2023 is the year of the Bannisters.” Learn more at



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