Beyond Empire Street:

The Past and Future of Place in Providence

Thursday, May 16, 2013 from 5:00 PM6:30 PM

Providence Public Library

150 Empire Street

Providence, RI 02903

In 1985, downtown Providence was very close to being a “ghost town”. Artists, musicians, and other creative people were generally waiting for next bus out of town, in search of a brighter future in Boston or New York. It was the kind of environment where a fledgling, upstart arts group named AS220 could rent space on the third floor of the Providence Performing Arts Center to offer an unjuried and uncensored exhibition and performance space for all Rhode Island artists, even if that included ear-piercing, building-shaking, heavy metal and industrial music and other mayhem, without too much fear of attracting unwanted attention from the powers that be.

Nigh on 30 years later, downtown Providence is thriving with world-class offerings in the realms of the arts, entertainment, food, retail, education, and more. AS220, now an internationally-known arts organization, employs 60 people and enlivens 3 mixed-use buildings in the heart of downtown.

How did this transformation happen? It wasn’t built on the back of AS220 alone. How does Providence sustain this success and, most importantly, build towards bigger and better things in the future?

Join us for a panel discussion on these very topics, moderated by Brett Egan, Director of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, featuring: