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Buy Art [small works holiday show] in the gallery at the WaterFire Arts Center

Artworks shown from artists Laura White Carpenter, Maxime Jean Lefebvre, Keira Gonsalves, Rafael Medina, & Jeremy Schilling

The WaterFire Arts Center (WFAC) is pleased to present its first small works holiday show, Buy Art, in the WFAC gallery, including over 175 works by eighteen contemporary Rhode Island-based artists. This small works holiday show/sale encourages visitors to support local artists by giving the gift of art for the holidays. All of the pieces are available for purchase and can be taken home the same day they are sold. Buy Art [small works holiday show] will be on display from December 4, 2021 til January 9, 2022.

The Buy Art show is made up of work by artists: Sydney Sousa, Kiara Costa | OZMA, YSANEL Torres, Jared Winslow, Spocka Summa, Keira Gonsalves | Stone Soup, Rafael Medina, Madison Peck, Julia Dwinell, Laura White Carpenter, Maxime Jean Lefebvre, Julia Samuels, Lois Harada, Jeremy Schilling, Sara Breslin, Regina Teresa, Molly Horan | Creations by Fiore and Alexa Cahill. The participating artists include: four of the five artists in the 2020/21 cohort of the WaterFire Accelerate artist program, artists connected to the Valley neighborhood whose work is for sale in the WFAC store, artists that participated in the WaterFire ArtMart events, or artists who have participated in other WFAC programming within the last couple of years.

The WaterFire Arts Center store + gallery hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Please note the Holiday Closure from Noon Christmas Eve through January 2, 2022; opening again Wednesday, January 5, 2022.

Artwork Details: Keira Gonsalves, Jared Winslow, Julia Dwinell, & Jeremy Schilling (left to right)

The Artists

Sydney Sousa is a Rhode Island based artist who earned her bachelor’s in art with a concentration in painting along with a bachelor’s in psychology from Rhode Island College. Sydney creates abstract paintings that are motivated by moments and experiences that evoke an emotional response. She strives to take something intangible and make it tangible in the form of a painting. Her color choices and mark-making are often influenced by memories of places visited, seasons, and the atmosphere around her. Sydney is constantly investigating what it means to be human with personal experiences and emotions through painting. Her goal is not to make a perfect painting but rather hopes to gain an emotional response from the viewer. Instagram | [2020/21 WaterFire Accelerate Artist]

Kiara Costa is a multimedia artist living in Providence, RI. Self-taught, her colorful artwork is inspired by pop culture and graffiti. Using mediums such as acrylic paint, watercolors, spray paint, and markers she creates bold portraits and images that sometimes elicit a feeling of nostalgia. Kiara’s portraits bring about the individuality of one’s color palette and social background while maintaining a sense of joy. Her references to pop culture, (past and present), explores how her generation has been heavily influenced by icons, brands, and politicized events. While also begging the question, “How have millennials influenced pop culture?” Instagram | Website | [2020/21 WaterFire Accelerate Artist]

YSANEL Torres is a young Afro-Caribbean artist who learned to “fly” through manipulating her materials. YSANEL started as a poet and became primarily a public artist in her historic hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. She grew up in the South Side of Providence alongside a large population of people from the Dominican Republic, where both of her parents were born and where most of her family is from. YSANEL developed a voice for justice, especially racial justice and anti-gun violence movements. Eventually, her interdisciplinary work began to soar from public art to music, and from sculpture to theatre. Today, she experiments with a personal collection about her identity that she exhibited in September 2021 at the Aborn Gallery in Downtown Providence. YSANEL performed as a background for Spike Lee’s Netflix Film called “She’s Gotta Have It”. One of her most known Public Art projects is a series of portraits on outdoor utility boxes of some inspirational women for a female empowerment project that was featured in Providence Monthly’s August 2019 issue called The Faces of Street Art. In Early 2017, the City of Providence also awarded her the Public Art Fellowship. Instagram | Website | [2020/21 WaterFire Accelerate Artist]

Jared Winslow is a Street Photographer based out of Providence, Rhode Island, who is captivated by scenes of life. He’s always been a curious observer, loving to search for the beauty in the mundane, which has lead to his genuine pursuit of photography.

What once started as a hobby, has since turned into so much more. For him, walking the streets of Providence with his camera has been his favorite way to escape, reconnect, and express himself. It’s a form of therapy. Providence holds a special place in his heart, and because of that, it’s been his favorite subject to photograph over the last few years, with its beautiful architecture, eclectic personality, atmosphere, and charm. Instagram | YouTube | Website | [2020/21 WaterFire Accelerate Artist]

Spocka Summa is an emerging artist based out of Providence, RI. Through his artwork and collaborations with other artists he has developed a unique way of storytelling. For his project the Anti-Robot Club, Spocka explores the idea of a world in the not too distant future in which technology has taken over and mankind is on the verge of extinction. Instagram | Website

Keira Gonsalves: “The themes that I like to explore in my work have to do with pain and healing. I find it interesting that healing, while an overall positive experience, is also a painful process. With my work I try capturing these feelings as well as juxtapose the positive experiences and feelings surrounding healing and growing with the reality of a painful transformation. I try to emphasize these conflicting emotions further through contrast between beauty and simultaneous grotesqueness in the specific imagery and colors that I use.” Instagram | Website

Rafael Medina: “My work is an exploration of the city I was raised in. As I got older and started traveling, I began to appreciate Providence much more. Photography allowed me to take it a step further and begin documenting the beauty around us. Walking the streets with intention gave me a different perspective of the areas I thought I knew. Grateful every day for what this medium has done for me.” Instagram | Website

Madison Peck: “Growing up, I was the type to always have a camera in my hand, and my eyes on the nature around me. I had been presented with the perfect opportunity to combine both passions on a trip to Oregon, while visiting family. As someone from the East coast, I was drawn to this ‘dream-like’ environment I’d been yearning to experience. Immediately I’d felt the urge to combine the mystified landscapes with my personal style, creating a new world for the viewer to be transported to. These pieces are an extension of myself, credited to the canvas that the earth has offered me, and I’m incredibly honored to share them with you.” Instagram | Website

Julia Dwinell: “My work is inspired by nature and its simple beauty. I like when I can find a moment in nature that is mundane, a butterfly sipping nectar from a flower, and yet feels quite special to encounter. Moments like these are what inspire my paintings. The theme I most like to explore in my art is our relationship, as humans, with the environment. It can be both destructive and healing and therefore hard to talk about one without the other. The medium I use for a given piece of work is intentional. I want my drawings to feel raw and personal. I want them to connect the viewer to the subject matter right away. My paintings are more free and an expression of color that should give the viewer a chance to get lost in the art.” Instagram | Website

Laura White Carpenter: “It is important to me that my work carries the essence of being hand-crafted. I enjoy creating the perfectly imperfect form and intentionally retain tool marks in my hand-built ceramics. For the past few years, I have been creating hand-built spherical raindrop forms with a goal of making a series of 52 individual forms. I was inspired by the roots of ceramics, using the coil-building method as humans have done for tens of thousands of years to make essential functional items. To me, coil-building is a very meditative process. I was also motivated by the desire to realize a consistent practice, to truly hone my skills, and to explore a wide variety of decorative processes, including experimental methods such as adding glass, metal, fiber, and found objects into the clay body or glaze. The coil-building process uses minimal water, and having lived in a highly arid area for a few years (northern Ghana), I recognize this is a more sustainable form of ceramics in a world where clean water is a privilege not the basic human right that it should be.” Instagram | Website

Maxime Jean Lefebvre: “This series of vessels visually depicts my observations in American supermarkets, which have always felt like museums to me. In this work I create objects of an imagined future “past.” Clay is ageless and constitutes much of what we know of past civilizations, making ceramics the natural medium of choice for this project. The plastic containers that inspire these forms will, in turn, be how our history will be deciphered by future generations. I have been applying different patterns and textures to the vessels, to highlight the shape and erase the brand, so that they would remain familiar but become slightly uncanny.” Instagram | Website

Julia Samuels was born in Portsmouth, NH and received her BFA from Pratt Institute in 2007. In Brooklyn she participated in building and managing The Gowanus Studio Space and also volunteered during the formative years of 596 Acres, an agency that helps neighbors gain access to vacant land in their communities. She received her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2015.

Julia is primarily a woodcut artist but is versed in all forms of printmaking. Julia’s work focuses on congruence, dissonance and resonance between plant based and life forces and human intervention. Instagram | Website

Lois Harada is an artist and printmaker based in Providence, RI. Originally from Salt Lake City, Lois settled in Providence after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2010. She works at commercial printshop, DWRI Letterpress and is a member of The Wurks studio where she prints her own work. She has exhibited work across the country and had work recently acquired by the RISD Museum. Instagram | Website

Jeremy Schilling – The following work is a selection from over 1000 drawings created since September 2020. The main body of these drawings are not about refinement but rather the physicality of the charcoal medium and reactionary decision making in response to a live models pose. Each drawing is a five minute conversation, a question (the models pose) and the response (artist use of composition and marks). Working from life is a unique experience, as the act of observation is a fleeting one. There is only time to capture and record the most important elements and because of this, a drawing can become a journal of decisions of deemed importance. There is an honesty that emerges from these decisions. Instagram

Sara Breslin: “Like life, my work is fluid. As I evolve and experience life, my work reflects it. I have been on this earth for 2, going on 3 decades and I have experienced love and loss, grief and depression, anxiety and the twist and turns of womanhood. I am grateful for my human experience and I explore it through my artwork.

I have adapted a feminine theme to all of my works as it directly relates to my self discoveries as a women experiencing our terribly beautiful world. I lean on images from nature and the female figure to express both the strength and softness of womanhood. Often times the colors or floral elements I choose are symbols of grief, purity, and love. I create images of fantastical woman in simple surroundings so that others may transport themselves into the illustrations and feel consumed by the power and emotions these women represent.” Instagram | Website

Regina Hogan: “I’m a graphic designer, photographer, & teacher with a passion for anything in the arts. I love to use my imagination to create things and inspire creativity & learning in others. Whether I’m creating digital illustrations, advertising designs, or photographing the beautiful or unusual I LOVE being CREATIVE. I use photography as a means of self-expression and discovery.  Capturing the extraordinary in the ordinary, creating meaningful connections, or simply getting lost in the creative process is what drives me to create.” Instagram

Molly Horan: “I’m a young artist living on the Southcoast of Massachusetts finding creativity from the beach to the city and all the places in between. I started developing a love of art when I moved to the high desert of California. During all my traveling, I began to find peace through creating. I experimented with many types of medias and found painting and digital to be my most favorite. I specialize in flora and fauna illustrations, often using plants and flowers as my muse.” Instagram | Website

Alexa Cahill: “My work is inspired by my mental health experience and my interest in the ties between humanity and nature. I provide mental health counseling to inmates as well as crisis patients and this significantly influences the perspective of my work. I use mostly acrylic paint which leaves room for layering and experimentation, making the process of creating a journey in itself. I leave my paintings open to different perspectives and interpretations as people’s connection with my work is something that is extremely important to me. Overall, I aim to create surreal worlds by combining aspects of humanity and nature that will inspire others’ curiosity and creativity.” Instagram | Website

About the author

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I'm a Roger Williams University graduate that is currently working as the Creative Services Assistant here at WaterFire Providence. I have been gaining knowledge and experience in graphic design for over 9 years now, and my interest in it has grown into full-blown passion. Outside of graphic design some of my other hobbies and interests include photography, art, nature, animals, and music. A fun fact about me is that I have a variety of pets from small animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs to reptiles such as geckos and bearded dragons.

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Over the last 10+ years, alongside some incredible co-workers and volunteers, I've worked to build the organization that WaterFire Providence is today. As Director of Creative Services, my team and I work on visual communications, graphic design, the visitor experience, merchandising as well as project management for programming at the WaterFire Arts Center. Being a part of the 'Rhode Island' experience for tens of thousands of people is incredible and I have an intense pride in place for both Downtown Providence and the Valley neighborhood.

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