You don’t need us to tell you that 2020 has been an extremely difficult year. Despite the challenges that we’ve all faced, we are heartened knowing that AS220’s community of artists has stepped up to advocate, inspire, dream, dissent, and vision for the future we want to see for ourselves and our communities. Need proof? Just scroll down and read the inspiring examples from our 2020 recap (and these are just a few of the many incredible things our creative community has achieved this year!). Help AS220 support the artists who bring magic to our communities by donating to our year-end appeal! We’re at 82.5% of our $80,000 goal – click here to donate now!
JANUARY – ABORN GALLERY FINISHED
AS220’s All Access Campaign to renovate our Empire Street complex hit a big milestone in January 2020, with the reopening of our newly renovated Aborn Gallery! This space creates more opportunities for artists to show their work and helps reduce years-long waiting lists for an exhibition. The first exhibit in the renovated space happened in February – a group show curated by Paris Paris, featuring Victoria Alden, DeadZest, Ryan Cardoso, and WHERES Nasty?
FEBRUARY – UNDOING RACISM TRAINING
In February, we closed for 3 days so that all staff could participate in an Undoing Racism training facilitated by The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. This was an important step towards becoming an anti-racist organization and putting racial justice at the heart of AS220’s work.
MARCH – MASK MAKING!
Despite shutting down to the public in the beginning of March, AS220 remained a beehive of action and creativity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of residents, staff, and Industries members devoted themselves to sewing and distributing facemasks for frontline responders and essential workers in Rhode Island and beyond.
With schools closed, the hard-working staff at AS220 Youth assembled and distributed art kits (below) for members to take home, and developed distance-learning plans to keep members engaged remotely.
APRIL – RENT RELIEF & CORONACATION!
While “cooped up inside” and “stuck social distancing” 15 year old Providence musician Amelia Ross wanted to be able to support local artists. Hearing that AS220 was committed to providing rent relief to residents who needed it due to the pandemic, Amelia wrote and recorded the song “Coronacation” and donated all of the proceeds from its sales to support AS220’s resident artists. Amelia’s creativity helped ensure our residents didn’t have to worry about late rent or losing their homes. Thanks, Amelia!
MAY – ENLIVENING DOWNTOWN PVD
In May, AS220 residents Tatiana Gómez Gaggero, José Menendez, Linda Ford, and Mario Read brought art out of their homes and into downtown. “We’ve been projecting color and movement onto the buildings across the street from AS220’s Mercantile building. It’s a visual complement to the beautiful sound piece the Empire Street residents are doing. We’re activating the otherwise quiet and empty urban landscape of downtown and having so much fun!”
As noted, they were inspired by the work of Joe DeGeorge and the residents of our Empire Street complex, who brought us WindOpus (below) starting back in March!
JUNE – PRINT LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN
Tatiana Gómez Gaggero, Nafis M. White, Sara Inacio, Pat Oliveira (non-member), Jacques Bidon, José R. Menéndez and Ryan Dean. Not pictured: Allison Bianco, Julia Brough, Erin Lobb Mason and Lara Henderson.
The Print Like You Give A Damn Press Collective, driven by the organizing efforts and leadership of Nafis White, recruited AS220 residents, staff, Industries members, and artists from the community to create compelling graphic social and racial justice messages in print. The collective was a major presence at the numerous marches and protests in Providence in 2020, distributing their work to the public.
JULY – RACIAL JUSTICE
In July, AS220 BIPoC staff put forth demands necessary for AS220 to become an anti-racist organization. These demands are reasonable and achievable, and we are committed to working collaboratively and creatively as a staff and community to realize all of them in time. Click here to read the demands.
Recognizing that there are no quick fixes to the deep-rooted issues around racism, we formed a Racial Justice Initiative that you can participate in, that will work towards this goal. We are enthusiastic and excited about putting in the work to move AS220 forward with these demands at the heart of our strategic plan and our future, and we are proud to work together to create a better AS220 for all of us.
Additionally, our galleries – closed since March – opened for appointment-only COVID safe viewings and continued to serve as an exhibition space for Rhode Island artists, like Becci Davis, pictured below, with part of her exhibit “MOTHERROOT”.
Photo by Matthew Healy
AUGUST – GOODBYE, SUSAN
Photo by Eric Lubrick
In August, we said goodbye to our long-time Senior Property Manager, Susan Clausen, as she took the huge step of leaving AS220 after 35 years. Susan was here since the beginning, bringing her unique brand of can-do attitude, problem solving and creative spirit to all the challenges AS220 has thrown at her. Along with her husband, founder Umberto (Bert) Crenca, Susan has dedicated herself to upholding our mission, supporting our residents and other tenants, and collaborating with staff to make the impossible possible. Thank you again, Susan, for all the incredible hard work and love you poured into AS220 over the years.
SEPTEMBER – DANCE IS BACK!
September saw the return of dance classes! Our studio closed to the public in March, but we were able to partner with The Glitter Goddess Collective + Haus of Glitter Dance Company’s Historic Haus of Glitter Performance Lab + Parq (97 Admiral Street, PVD) as a satellite outdoor space for AS220 Dance! Offerings included yoga, ballet, West African dance, hip hop, contemporary, and street jazz. Stay tuned in 2021 for streaming dance classes – coming soon!
OCTOBER – BLACKOUT FESTIVAL
After months of adjusting to the “new normal” with young people and staff working together both remotely and socially-distant in person, AS220 Youth presented The Black Out Festival – a youth-led and organized Performance Based Protest in support of defunding the police and reinvesting funds into anti-racist arts organizations. In collaboration with the Haus of Glitter Performance Lab and Pronk mini festivals this year, the event consisted of art installations, performances, community, and our youth bringing light to the ways we, as a community, can better ourselves through art.
NOVEMBER – RETURN OF THE MAC!
AS220 Food & Drink reopened its doors for takeout service after an 8-month absence. Our community let us know how much they missed our restaurant by buying up everything we had so quick we had to shut down early on our first night back! Our staff are taking a break right now, but will return to serve you on Friday, January 1st!
November also saw the return of artists to AS220’s Main Stage! Slitty Wrists and Bochek both recorded live audience-less performances that were then subsequently posted online for your viewing pleasure. We’ll be announcing an entire lineup of regularly scheduled “sessions” from your favorite artists in January 2021!
DECEMBER – AS220 YOUTH VIRTUAL SHOWCASE
Capping off the year, AS220 Youth‘s apprentices presented a virtual showcase highlighting the skills they’ve been building and the work that they’ve been creating during the Fall session in the worlds of dance, video, apparel, beatmaking, visual design, yoga, and more. Even a global pandemic cannot hold our talented young artists down!
We need your help to support Rhode Island artists during this crisis. In 2020, AS220 has a year-end fundraising goal of $80,000. Through a number of very generous pledges by long-time supporters, AS220 Board members, and staff, we’ve raised $40,000 towards a matching challenge. We need your support to secure these pledges. Help us raise another $40,000 to reach our goal!
Please donate now! Every dollar counts. To make your year-end, tax deductible donation*, visit as220.org/support!
Heartfelt thanks to our matching challenge donors, including: The Richard & Vera Gierke Family Fund, Seth Miller & Alexandra Lang, Clay Rockefeller & Manya Rubinstein, Buff Chace, Dan Levinson, Deming & Jane Sherman, Lucie Searle, Maia Farish, Noah Fulmer, DBVW Architects, Pezzuco Construction, SueEllen Kroll, AS220 Board members and staff.
*Please note that the CARES Act has made a new charitable deduction available: taxpayers who take the standard deduction (i.e. those who do not itemize their deductions) may claim up to $300 per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple) in annual charitable contributions. Additionally, individuals can elect to deduct donations up to 100% of their 2020 AGI (up from 60% previously).