James DeWolf Perry has been named executive director of the Center for Reconciliation, the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s initiative to locate a slavery museum and inter-racial reconciliation center at the former Cathedral of St. John in Providence.

James Baumgartner / RIPR

The Providence City Council finance committee voted to approve a proposed downtown hotel Tuesday night. The project was proposed earlier this year, but movement on the issue was slow.

A local developer wants to build a nine-story hotel on the site of a now-vacant government building. The project was proposed this summer, but the city’s finance committee did not vote on it for several months. Local construction workers felt opposition by a hotel workers union seemed to be stalling the project.

One of Rhode Island’s only Spanish-language theater companies is getting its own home. The ECAS Theatre in Providence has been operating for nearly two decades. (ECAS stands for Educational Center for the Arts and Sciences.)

ECAS began in 1997, producing plays in both English and Spanish. Up to now, the group has rented space, but organizers have found a permanent home in Providence’s South Side.

The group mainly stages plays from Hispanic countries. Artistic Director Francis Parra said they provide a glimpse into the national cultures of many Rhode Island residents.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has launched an advisory council to focus on gun violence. The 11-member group will meet at least four times a year, and deliver annual recommendations to the city.

Providence City Council President Luis Aponte joins Bonus Q+A to discuss the outlook on development in Providence, and a host of other issues, including pensions, Kennedy Plaza, the PawSox, and more.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence City Council President Luis Aponte joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss continued deficits in the city budget; Mayor Jorge Elorza's strategy in trying to cut the cost of firefighter overtime; and the outlook on attracting the PawSox to Victory Place.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

The Providence-based arts organization AS220 is celebrating its 30th anniversary Saturday night with a big party at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence. After a humble start in a small room in the Providence Performing Arts Center back in 1985, AS220 has grown to become an arts and performance powerhouse


Brown University breaks ground Thursday on a new engineering building on their Providence campus. The three-story, 80,000 square foot building will give the department its own home for the first time. Currently, engineering shares space with the physics department.

Brown President Christina Paxson said the new facility will allow the school’s research to expand in areas like nano-engineering.

“So this is looking at very, very small particles that have interesting applications from health to material science, to environmental science,” said Paxson.

Gabriella Nissen

Festival Ballet Providence kicks off its 38th season later this week with a re-boot of programs from The Ballets Russes. The dances shocked the art world when they premiered in Paris more than 100 years ago. The company invited collaborators from painters to fashion designers to take part in their performances. Festival Ballet Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric says the result was something new and exciting.

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The chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jane Chu, toured the Ocean State Friday. The visit was part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the NEA.

Chu says she was surprised by what she called a “thriving” arts community in Rhode Island. She said the state recognizes the impact of the arts on the economy.

"When we put the arts in a corner, or we think that it’s a frill, we’re really doing a disservice to the transformational power of the way arts touches our lives every day; everything from jobs to career training, to the beauty of arts themselves," said Chu.

John Bender / RIPR

An investigation is underway in Providence after white supremacist flyers were found in an East Side neighborhood. Authorities are classifying the incident as a hate crime.

Twenty-two flyers were found by law enforcement on Thursday morning, stuffed into rice filled plastic baggies. They were dropped in a neighborhood that’s home to a large Jewish Community Center, and Brown University. The flyers contained racist and anti-Semitic messages. Initial tests for toxic substances came back negative

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has set himself an ambitious goal: to rid the city of all housing blight in the next six years. If the city reaches that goal, Elorza said it would be the first city of its size to do so.

On Tuesday, the mayor unveiled his initiative to deal with hundreds of vacant and abandoned homes in the state capital. The project, called EveryHome Providence, offers what the administration calls a suite of tools for taking on these properties.

Lisa Williams / flickr

Downtown Providence might get a little noisy Monday as the Providence Honk Festival makes its annual parade through the city. The PRONK festival features a variety of marching bands and community groups. The groups will make their way from Kennedy Plaza to the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

The What Cheer? Brigade of Providence will be one of the bands taking part. Drummer Jori Ketten calls Pronk! an alternative street festival.

“A large part of the festival is about claiming the streets and spending time in the streets and reveling in the streets,” said Ketten.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Children who know more words tend to do better in school, and that has some researchers wondering whether early language may offer a key to closing the achievement gap. That’s why Providence has launched Providence Talks, with millions of dollars from the Bloomberg Foundation. The program hopes to boost children’s vocabularies by teaching parents to be chattier with their babies and toddlers.

Data from a pilot study due out Monday shows promise. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison went on a home visit with a Providence Talks coach, to see how the program works.

After being a part of efforts to reduce violence in Providence for 15 years, Teny Gross says it’s time to take on a new challenge.

Gross established and led the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence after being recruited from Boston. The organization has been credited with helping reduce bloodshed in poor city neighborhoods. Gross helped create the institute's non-violence education model, including the "street worker" program, which sends former offenders back onto the streets to mediate conflicts and help prevent violence.