PROVIDENCE — The city of Providence has received a $25,000 grant to create a Broad Street Cultural Corridor Plaza, which will be a space where people can gather to experience pop-up performances and events.
The cultural corridor plaza, which will be partially shaded, will have a seating area at the convergence of Daboll and Public streets. A ground mural will mark the plaza, officials announced Thursday.
The city is one of 26 to receive grants through the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative, which focuses on projects that use art and design to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces, and re-engage residents. The organization had invited all cities to apply for the Asphalt Art Initiative in March, but recipients were chosen based on the proposed project’s impact, viability, quality, and visual interest.
Rhode Island Latino Arts, a local arts organization headed by executive director Marta Martinez, has started to bring attention to the Latino history of Broad Street. She said this addition will make South Providence a “sort of mecca of creative talent of street artists.” She said she hopes it will be a way of creating an urban regeneration.
The city’s Arts, Culture + Tourism (ACT) department will soon advertise a two-tier public call for design submissions starting in February 2022. Finalists will be selected by the City’s Art in the City Life Commission and an arts selection panel. The design award will be announced by May 2022 and the mural will be installed next summer for a goal completion date of sometime in the fall.
The mural itself will cover approximately 30 to 60 feet where Public Street meets and Daboll Street and approximately 80 to 20 feet to the east across Broad Street.
The site will also undergo safety infrastructure improvements in conjunction with the newly installed public art.
Drive lanes for each street will be reduced to 11 feet from 14 feet. Curbside parking will be reduced from 9.5 to 7 feet with a bike lane added on the right.
Liza Burkin, an organizer for the Providence Streets Coalition, said they believe streets and public spaces should be safe and efficient corridors for mobility, as well as an inviting place to engage with neighbors, support local businesses, and spend time outside.
“No reconstruction of Broad Street would be complete without artistic reflections of the diverse communities that make it the cultural and commercial backbone of South Providence,” Burkin said.