Arts & Culture

Providence, RI – Perhaps you have noticed that endearing bumper sticker pasted to the rear end of some cars that advises all of us to "Commit Random Acts of Kindness." Maybe you read that line and snicker, or maybe you take the advice to heart, believing that our world could be a better place if all of us committed random acts of kindness. Bill Miles surely believes in this bumper sticker's wisdom.

Providence, RI – How often have you uttered the phrase, "out of the mouths of babes," or some such sentiment about the remarkable wisdom that children often display? Haven't all of us had moments when we've been stunned by children's stunning insights about the workings of the world and about the people in their lives? Jim Stahl shares his insights about listening to children.

Providence, RI – There are working artists, and then there are artists who work so they can create their art. You will find them everywhere, especially in Providence. Our special Arts Correspondent Marina Windels introduces us to one of them: C.W. Roelle.

Providence, RI – How often do you have this fleeting, or perhaps even nagging, thought that you tend to take life too seriously, that you'd like to regain that childlike sense of fun and frolic? How often does genuine play find its way into your life? Sam White shares his passion for play, and about its importance in our lives.

Providence, RI – Every one of us has had moments in life when we weren't sure whether we were up to the challenge that stared straight at us. Perhaps it was in the face of sudden news about a loved one's death, the end of a profoundly important relationship, or bad news about our health. Nicole Purcell reflects on just such a time in her life, and on the lessons she has learned along the way.

Providence, RI – How often do you walk the streets of Rhode Island's cities and towns and notice - really notice - the architecture that surrounds you? What do Rhode Island's buildings mean to you - their height, their texture, their aesthetics? How do they shape your life? Ross Cann reflects on the profound meaning that Rhode Island's buildings have in his life.

Providence, RI – At one time or another, most of us have received bad news - the kind of news that stops us in our tracks and, possibly, alters our path in life, our priorities, the way we cope with adversity, indeed our most basic understanding of what life really means. And that's exactly what happened to Kathi Kolb.

Providence, RI – It's probably not hard to imagine a time in your life when you felt something that was profoundly precious to you was slipping away, perhaps the last moments of your college career, a glorious vacation, or a very special relationship. Lauren Birnie reflects on just such an experience in her life, and on the beliefs she formed along the way.

Providence, RI – Natural disasters are not usually seen as subjects for the musical stage. But, then, there was "Titanic" on Broadway and in film. Now being worked on in New York, there's another idea for an improbable production. But it is centered in Rhode Island. Bill Gale has the story.

Providence, RI – The phrase sounds so plain and simple. Yet all of us know how complex and challenging our human - and our sometimes inhumane - connections can be. Barbara Schweitzer reflects on the profound, and complicated, meaning of connections in our lives.

Providence, RI – How do the most important people in your life view you? How do you want to be viewed by others? Do you aim for some sort of ideal persona? As Cathleen Calbert notes, sometimes our answers to these questions come from a very unusual source.

Providence, RI – One of the joys of living in Rhode Island and in New England is that we get to experience the poignant changes in the seasons, the shift from summer's sweetness to the bucolic fall, and from winter's chill to spring's bountiful beauty. Yet, as Henri Flikier notes, shifting seasons - in New England and in our own lives - are filled with complexity.

Providence, RI – For what seems like an eternity, we've been overwhelmed by a spate of bad news, what with a disastrous economy, terrifying terrorist attacks, swine flu, and sordid political scandals. Through it all, many of us struggle to find a reason to smile, to laugh out loud. Karen Lee Ziner wisely reminds us of the profound importance of humor in our lives.

Providence, RI – All of us have had terrifyingly stressful moments in our lives when we were not sure we had the strength, the intestinal fortitude to survive the crisis. Perhaps it was a genuine health scare, or receiving dreadful news about a loved one or a terrorist attack. Whatever the daunting challenge, what all of us hope, and want to believe, is that we have the courage to survive. Peter Mandel reflects on his very personal brush with bravery.

Providence, RI – As part of our One Square Mile: Focus on Newport reporting series, Bob Seay spends some time with Newport gallery owner William Vareika. Vareika has a story to tell about John LaFarge, the multi-talented and influential artist based in Newport in the 19th and early 20th centuries.