Murals brighten outlook at RHD headquarters
PAWTUCKET – The Resources for Human Development-Rhode Island headquarters on Commerce Street was awash in colors this past week as clients from RHD teamed with incoming freshmen at the Rhode Island School of Design to create vivid murals that will be on display during an art fair later this month.
A group of RISD students as part of the college’s Pre-Orientation Service Experience, or POSE, community outreach program joined with RHD to paint the murals and bring a splash of color to RHD’s otherwise dull brick facade.
Since 2004, RHD-RI has helped adults with developmental disabilities reach their goals, with a strong focus on the arts, according to the RHD website.
This is the second year in which RHD-RI and RISD have joined together to create the murals. Last summer, in anticipation of the Rhode Island Outsider Art Fair – part of the annual Pawtucket Arts
Festival – the incoming freshmen united with clients from RHD-RI to paint the murals and mount them to the front of the building on Commerce Street.
Sophie Chien, a RISD sophomore and project coordinator with POSE, said that she was an incoming freshman last summer and participated in the mural collaboration, saying that it was “really cool, it was a really great experience to learn about the community around you.”
“The goal is for the freshmen to fall in love here and maintain relationships with the community,” Chien said.
Even more murals were painted on Wednesday and Thursday, which will be installed in advance of the second-annual Outsider Art Fair, known as “The Out There Art Fair,” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. The fair will incorporate work from a diverse and largely self-taught group of nationally and internationally recognized artists.
Lucy Stevens, art teacher with RHD, said that it was “so great” to have 30 RISD students work together with 30 of RHD’s clients and artists. “We’re so happy and lucky to be part of this.”
“There’s something really cool going on in this building,” Stevens added.
While the team of artists were able to collaborate outdoors on Wednesday, the steady soaking rain that came through Pawtucket on Thursday morning forced them indoors inside the second-floor art studio. RHD-RI Art Director Nate Carroll agreed that they made the best of a bad situation with Thursday’s inclement weather, while some of the RISD students said it gave them inspiration to be indoors and see the clients’ work on display, and to use that motivation on the murals.
Chien said that the bright and colorful murals will add a touch of color to the front of the RHD-RI building, saying that the murals showcased a theme of collaboration. These mixed ideas, she explained, manifested themselves on the canvases inside the studio.
Carroll said the murals are “beautifying the building,” and said that Pawtucket’s thriving arts community is always on the move, forever evolving and continuing to spread art across the city and region.
“We’re happy to be a part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival,” Carroll said. “It’s a spirit of collaboration. We’re happy to be in such a rich atmosphere.”
“This is the big event before the big event,” he added, referencing the Sept. 24 Outsider Art Fair, which will be held at RHD-RI’s headquarters at 24 Commerce St. and is free and open to the public. The festival will also feature art from local studios including Flying Shuttles of Pawtucket, Outside the Box Studios in Jamestown, and Top Drawer based out of Warren.
Finished murals dry and await hanging on the second floor at 24 Commerce Way in Pawtucket Thursday. The murals will be hung on the exterior of the building later this month, all part of the ongoing Pawtucket Arts Festival.
Artist Ian Silvia, left, and Eddie Burgos, lift one of the murals the two helped to paint along with incoming R.I.S.D. freshman for installation on the outside of 24 Commerce Way in Pawtucket.
Artist Ian Silvia, left, and Eddie Burgos, lift one of the murals the two helped to paint along with incoming R.I.S.D. freshman for installation on the outside of 24 Commerce Way.