Free Culture

AS220’s Free Culture Award 2010: Shepard Fairey’s Providence Mural. Photo credit: Miguel Rosario

The Free Culture Award is an honor bestowed every other year on two artists, one local and one international, whose work has made a significant contribution to grassroots, participatory culture and freedom of expression, and whose art and/or process embodies the organization’s unjuried, uncensored mission. Free Culture honorees are announced and celebrated in conjunction with the organization’s annual summer arts and music festival, Foo Fest. The biennial Free Culture Award is also an opportunity for AS220 to commission large-scale public works and/or artist editions from inspiring local and international artists.

Free Culture recipients are at the fringes of culture, pushing borders, and creating new territory in which culture, artists and art can thrive.  These art installations are the celebration of the creative spaces that AS220 develops with the collaboration of the greater Providence community. 

The handcrafted Free Culture Award, designed by AS220 Artistic Directer Umberto Crenca in collaboration with artist Steve Easton, takes the shape of a glass hammer inspired by a quote attributed to the Russian activist and poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky:

Art is not a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it. -Vladimir Mayakovsky

AS220’s Free Culture Award 2010. Glass hammer by local RI artist, Steven Easton.



New Barbarians. Free Culture 2012. Guillermo Gomez Pena.

Free Culture Award 2012


AS220's Free Culture Award 2010: Shepard Fairey's Providence Mural. Photo credit: Miguel Rosario

Free Culture Award 2010

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Live Arts Venues

Main Stage:
The AS220 Main Stage hosts over ten events a week and is a 200 capacity performance venue and gallery space. The venue contains 4 powered main speakers, three monitors, in house compression and efx, projection / dvd capabilities, and a 6 foot screen. A full inventory can be viewed here.  While the Main Stage hosts a wide array of artistic programming, it primarily is used as a concert venue. It is located at 115 Empire Street.


Black Box:
The Black Box is an extremely versatile 90 capacity performance theatre. It has a surround sound system, Subwoofer, digital projector with 8′ X 12′  screen, and full theatrical lighting. The space focuses on theatrical and dramatic works and encourages users to customize the space to suit the needs of their production. The Black Box is on the first floor of 95 Empire Street.


Dance Studio:
The dance studio hosts regular dance, yoga, and fitness classes and is available for rental for rehearsals and private instruction. The Dimensions of the marley floored room are  28′ X 42′ and it is equipped with mirrors, ballet barres, an easy to operate sound system and sunlight!

Dance Studio image

Psychic Readings:
Psychic Readings is an intimate and mysterious multi-purpose room. It has a capacity of 45, but also has an “Annex Room” which moonlights as an art gallery. Psychic Readings is run in conjunction with the AS220 Artists in Residence on the third floor of the Empire Street building.


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