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WaterFire Providence Statement About Brown’s Exhibition Cancellation

Regarding the planned exhibition of artist Ryan Mendoza’s “2672 South Deacon” at the WaterFire Arts Center.

PROVIDENCE, RI (09 February 2018) – Brown University’s withdrawal from our partnership exhibiting artist Ryan Mendoza’s “2672 South Deacon” has not changed our passion regarding the importance of the work. The art installation includes a house of refuge for Rosa Parks and her husband Raymond as they left Alabama for Detroit, “the Northern Promiseland that wasn’t.”

According to accounts by family members, neighbors, and others, in August 1957, the Parks landed at her brother Sylvester McCauley’s home at 2672 Deacon Street in Detroit and stayed there on and off for several years. This home, which was scheduled for demolition, is the centerpiece of Mr. Mendoza’s work.

As an arts organization, which operates the WaterFire Arts Center, we believe strongly in the importance of artists’ rights and freedom of expression. We believe Mr. Mendoza’s installation is a powerful work of art that will resonate with a diverse cross-section of our community. “2672 South Deacon” can be a valuable catalyst for constructive conversations about issues that the Parks’ family experienced at the genesis of the Civil Rights Movement and which many Americans still experience today.

Over the next few days, we will be hard at work with the artist and the McCauley family to explore opportunities to continue plans to present Mr. Mendoza’s art for Providence residents, all Rhode Islanders, visitors from across the nation and around the world. We appreciate all of the local, national and international outreach and interest in supporting this important work of art and we hope to be able to welcome visitors to the WaterFire Arts Center to experience it soon.

Peter A. Mello
WaterFire Providence
(401) 273-1155 x 5512
[email protected]

Featured image: The WaterFire Arts Center, photograph by Heidi Gumula of DBVW Architects.

About the author

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I've worked at WaterFire Providence since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career, I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. In 2012 transitioned to the role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I now head up WaterFire Providence's digital projects including, web, social, databases, and our physical IT infrastructure.

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