Pawtucket’s urban landscape is largely defined by how three rivers and a major interstate flow through the city resulting in a crisscross of bridges and highway overpasses. Art Bridges Pawtucket is a City-run effort that seeks to utilize Public Art as a way to bring together and better connect Pawtucket’s diverse communities, complex street patterns and patchwork neighborhoods.

Our first initiative is to transform the I-95 George Street Overpass with a large-scale installation of public art. This overpass is a key connector and gateway to our city. Art added to the north side of the overpass will enhance the vehicle and pedestrian path over the highway and also be visible to cars driving south on I-95. This work began with a 2014 NEA Our Town grant award. Wide community engagement took place during the winter of 2015. The results of this community dialogue and our artist selection process can be explored on this site.

We invite everyone to follow along, contribute your voice and watch for the final artwork appearing in the Fall of 2016!


October 2014 • The City of Pawtucket receives NEA Our Town Grant
November 2014 • 115 artists answer national “Call for Art”
January to April 2015 • Community Outreach & Input
May 2015 • Three Finalist Artists Selected
June 2015 • Finalists Visit for 1 Day City Immersions before Beginning to Design
Summer 2015 • George Street Overpass Designs Developed
September 2015 • Public Comment on Three Finalist Design Concepts
November 2015 • Artist Suikang Zhao Awarded Project
December 2015 • RI Urban Planning Award received for Community Engagement
Summer 2016 • Zhao works with Steel Yard on Artwork Fabrication
Fall 2016 • Artwork installed on the George Street Overpass
Coming soon • Community Celebration date & time!

Funding Partners

Art Bridges Pawtucket began with a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant in the amount of $75,000. The NEA recognizes public art as a valuable placemaking tool in fostering interaction among residents, improving the livability of spaces and contributing to economic development. Funding to complete the full George Street installation is matched locally by the City of Pawtucket and Mayor Donald Grebien, through generous contributions from The Rhode Island Foundation and The Pawtucket Foundation, and in-kind contributions from Comfort Inn and The Pawtucket Arts Festival.

This project is also supported with significant collaboration from:
Pawtucket Arts Festival
Pawtucket Arts Collaborative
City of Pawtucket Commission on Arts and Culture
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council

Community Engagement by: Margie Butler
Identity Design & Website by: Design Agency
Video: Michelle Le Brun, Harken Productions