Art Bridges Pawtucket Kicks Off

The Valley Breeze, May 19 2015 • staff writer

PAWTUCKET – City officials announced the juried selection of Brower Hatcher of Providence, Joshua Wiener of Colorado, and Suikang Zhao of New York as the finalists who will propose designs to transform the George Street overpass by the Comfort Inn “into an iconic gateway and engaging streetscape that better reflects the city’s artistic and economic vibrancy.”

The three finalists were selected from 115 artists who answered the city’s “Call for Art.”

Pawtucket’s Department of Planning was awarded a significant National Endowment for the Arts grant to bring artwork to the George Street overpass bridge. By the fall of 2016, a highly visible public art piece will be installed on the bridge’s walkway, fence and overpass structure.

The NEA “Our Town” grant of $75,000 has been matched locally with strong support from the city and Mayor Don Grebien, according to a news release. This project also received contributions from partners, including a $25,000 donation from The Rhode Island Foundation and $5,000 from The Pawtucket Foundation. Pawtucket’s Comfort Inn will provide complementary rooms to visiting finalists. The grants recognize public art as a valuable tool in fostering interaction among residents, improving the livability of spaces and contributing to economic development.

The three finalists will each visit the city, spending a day to understand the site, visit the surrounding neighborhoods, meet with local residents and gather inspiration for their artwork. Their final designs will be submitted to the city in time for the Pawtucket Arts Festival in September. Officials will invite public comment on the designs. The chosen artwork will be installed on the George Street overpass in the fall of 2016.

* Wiener (www.joshuawiener.com) teaches at Denver’s Arts Students League. His work, wide-ranging in style, is done in metal and stone with both figurative and abstract content.

* Hatcher (www.midoceanstudio.com) runs Mid-Ocean Studio where he leads teams of artists in partnerships with communities to reflect their unique identity and spirit. His works employ a matrix of metal connecting elements and colorful forms that allow one to look inside and through each sculpture.

* Zhao (zhaosuikang.com) works across the media of sculpture, painting and writing focusing on the existing reality of different cultures to create harmony and dissonance in a shared space.

“The art installation on the George Street overpass will send a powerful message to the 150,000 travelers a day driving through Pawtucket on I-95 that Pawtucket’s artistic and creative energy plays a key role in our community,” said Grebien in a statement.

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