Arts & Culture

Collection of John Benson

This Saturday, Sept. 26, the Newport Art Museum opens the exhibit "Reviving Durr Freedley: Newport's Forgotten Artist." Freedly painted the murals that cover the interior of the Seamen's Institute chapel, but the painter and his art has been all but forgotten, until now.

Erin X. Smithers / Mixed Magic Theatre

The Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket has begun its season with a play that opened some minds back in 1965. It was called “Day of Absence” and its plot – and its warning – still has something to say. 

Bill Gale has the review.

New England Native American Culture Week continues, with a screening of the recently restored silent movie The Daughter of Dawn on Thursday night at Rhode Island College. The 6th Annual Big Drum Powwow takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Roger Williams National Memorial, 284 N. Main St., Providence.

Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

So far, the Southern New England arts season has been a place for serious theater. Trinity Rep opened with Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar.” And now, Pawtucket's Gamm Theatre has presented Tennessee Williams' deep and driving “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Viola Davis made history last night, as the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a TV drama. In a rousing speech, Davis quoted 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman, then spoke to the barriers women of color continue to face today.

“And let me tell you something, the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” said Davis.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Theater season kicked off this week in Southern New England with a contemporary version of Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar” at Trinity Rep. Rhode Island Public Radio theater critic Bill Gale says there's hardly a better way to begin.

Carlo Benini

Jhumpa Lahiri, the London-born author who grew up in Kingston, Rhode Island has been given the National Humanities Medal. President Barack Obama presented the award Thursday in a ceremony at the White House, honoring Lahiri and 20 other individuals and organizations with national arts and humanities awards.

Lahiri is the author of several novels including The Namesake, and her debut story collection, The Interpreter of Maladies, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

Trinity Rep

Trinity Repertory Company opens its 52nd season with William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The production is designed to have the feel of our modern political world, (hence the suits pictured above).

The show also offers a surprising twist in casting. The title role of Julius Caesar will be played by a woman, Trinity Rep veteran Anne Scurria. (Julius Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, will be played by a man -- with a name change to Calpurnius.)

The Rhythm and Roots Music Festival in Charlestown has become a Labor Day tradition here in Rhode Island, especially as a showcase for Cajun music and dance. Rhode Island Public Radio's Chuck Hinman explores the origin and lasting legacy of Rhode Island's Cajun connection, with Alan Bradbury of the Magnolia Cajun Band.

Mark Turek

Trinity Repertory Company, which has also been named the State Theater of Rhode Island, has selected Tom Parrish as its new executive director.

Parrish comes from a similar position at the Geva Theater Center in New York, according to the official announcement of his hiring. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Art and medicine have long been intertwined - from the earliest depictions of human anatomy to modern art therapy. A new art exhibit (“Interstice: Memory, Mind, and Alzheimer's Disease," open through September 9 in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University) takes that relationship in a new direction. A neuroscientist and artist teamed up with fellow artists to explore what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s Disease. 

John Bender / RIPR

Providence celebrates its famed native author H.P. Lovecraft this week, with dozens of events at the convention known as Necromomicon.  

Rhode Island's Poet Laureate Rick Benjamin plans to leave the state for a post in California. Benjamin will resign as of mid-January and take a teaching position at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Governor Gina Raimondo's office said the State Arts Council will begin to organize a search for a new state poet. 

Benjamin was appointed state poet in 2013 by then-Governor Lincoln Chafee. The five-year appointment made Benjamin the 5th state poet in Rhode Island history.

Emily Wooldridge / RIPR

State Department officials are meeting with artists at the Rhode Island School of Design this week for a series of workshops on design and public policy.

RISD head of continuing education Greg Victory said good designers consider a variety of perspectives. He thinks that approach that might improve things like public policy and legislation.

“Often times the times the process doesn’t really include for lack of a better term the user, until late in the game, and at some points, that’s too late.”

The 19th annual Rhode Island International Film Festival kicks off Tuesday. Judges sifted through more than 5,700 entries to winnow down this year’s festival  to 250 films.  The films will be screened at a dozen venues across the state.

Executive Director George Marshall said after nearly two decades the festival is gaining international recognition.

“Things are starting to coalesce with folks internationally discovering who we are as an organization and as point of exhibition for quality films that reflect filmmakers’ visions from across the world,” said Marshall.