Arts & Culture

Chuck Hinman

This year's award goes to Raymond Two Hawks Watson, a Providence resident and the chief executive officer of the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative. 

Last month, the Providence City Council passed a resolution declaring support for the Rhode Island Middle Passage Project. This is the local chapter of a nationwide effort now underway to install historic markers memorializing the lives of Africans who were the victims of the transatlantic slave trade. Rhode Island has four sites identified as places for such markers. On Thursday afternoon, April 7, the statewide committee coordinating this effort meets to plan the next steps.

Clinton campaign

For this month’s Artscape, we’re looking at the use of graphic design by the 2016 presidential candidates.  I talk to Benjamin Shaykin, a Providence-based educator and graphic designer. Shaykin also serves as a critic for the Rhode Island School of Design, and he performs that function for Rhode Island Public Radio, to help analyze the presidential campaign logos.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Over the years Trinity Rep has made its mark taking new looks at classic plays. This time out it's “To Kill a Mockingbird” that is seen with a fresh perspective. RIPR theater critic Bill Gale says the new take works, but just barely.


That's right. Since the days of leadership by Adrian Hall, Trinity has rarely done a show in the usual way. Think of a 1920s car being driven, more or less, through the upstairs theater decades ago. Or remember an onstage abortion, or a veteran actor chopping a chunk of beef, in place of a man.

Cinema Ritrovato

Starting Tuesday, Brown University hosts a unique four-night film festival put on by the Italian Studies Department, in conjunction with the Cineteca, or film library, in Bolgna, Italy. 


After more than 60 years at the helm, Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein has named his successor. The festival this week named Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride as its new artistic director.

Dead Animals: Taxidermy in Art

Mar 10, 2016
Chuck Hinman

Have you given any thought lately to your relationship with animals? Statistics reveal a contradictory interaction between humans and other species.

Here in the United States, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that there could be as many as 176 million dogs and cats being kept as pets, many of them no doubt treated as beloved members of the family. On the other hand, figures from the Humane Society show billions of cattle, chickens and other livestock slaughtered every year for food.

In the past Festival Ballet Providence's popular Up Close on Hope series has presented evenings with half-a-dozen, or more, works by various choreographers.  But beginning tonight Up Close will present just two pieces, each taken from classic tales, both world premieres by choreographers familiar to Festival Ballet fans.

One is Venezuelan-born dancer-choreographer,” Gianni Di Marco's view of Marguerite Gautier's  “Lady of the Camellias,” a romantic idle, looking at love, and eventual death. 

Peter Goldberg / Gamm Theatre

Pawtucket's Gamm Theatre is currently doing the Irish play “A Skull in Connemara.” It's a work infrequently done, certainly not as often as playwright Martin McDonagh's best, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.” Bill Gale thinks he knows the reason why.


At a time when unemployment, and economic development, remain at the forefront of many people’s minds, columnist Bob Kerr reflects on a once thriving local industry.

Mills, producing products like silver and textiles once kept Rhode Island and Massachusetts cities like Woonsocket, Providence and Fall River, bustling hubs of economic activity.

Kerr reflects on the loss of that industry, and the legacy it’s left behind.

Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

The current play at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren features six women, all dressed in black, simply sitting on stage, scripts in hand, talking.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

For serious jazz fans, A Love Supreme, by saxophonist John Coltrane needs no introduction.  A Love Supreme was recorded in one day at the end of 1964, and released 51 years ago this month, in February of 1965. It’s since been recognized as one of the all-time great jazz masterworks.

On Saturday, Urban Bush Women, a group of African American dancers out of Brooklyn, bring their unique interpretation of Coltrane’s achievement to the Vets, in Providence. For this month’s Rhode Island Artscape, RIPR's Chuck Hinman reports on the psychology of Coltrane and jazz improvisation.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

The latest offering at Trinity Rep is “The Hunchback of Seville.'' Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale was unconvinced at first, but this bright and bold, silly and crude production won him over.

Yes, and you can add wacky and wild and sometimes sophomoric in the extreme. Written by Brown University graduate Charise Castro Smith this play looks in on lots of things, from feminism to the Spanish inquisition and the gross side of the development of the New World. It's filled with explosive imagination, and the romp of youth.

Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

“Break A Leg” is a well-known (if rarely seriously used) phrase to encourage an actor before he or she goes on stage. Now, Warwick's Ocean State Theatre presents “Breaking Legs,” a highly farcical comedy combining the theater world and the mafia. Bill Gale went to see it anyway.

The production, directed by Trinity Rep's Fred Sullivan Jr., turns out to be an overdone, over silly piece that somehow manages to be pretty darn funny.

Maggie Hall / Wilbury Theatre Group

Providence’s Wilbury Theatre Group is staging another provocative drama, filled with humor and music. Rhode Island Public Radio’s theater critic Bill Gale, says the show has something to say.

Despite that somewhat sophomoric title, this work eventually turns out to make a point or two. In a snap-fire three act production, in about 2 hours, it manages to take a look at a group of arts-world folks. It peels away the covering, lets us in the audience see their troubles, exterior and internal. And perhaps even offers us a chance to think about our own lives.