Smith Hill Vision, Concrete Dreams – Providence, RI

"Smith Hill Visions, Concrete Dreams" was a community public art project in Providence, Rhode Island. The project addressed issues about Rhode Island's native animal species and public verses private space as it relates to the placement of public art. The project was created during the summer of 2002.

The intent of "Smith Hill Visions, Concrete Dreams" was to create awareness about Rhode Island's threatened and endangered species and the loss of their natural habitat. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management lists 82 vertebrates and 59 invertebrates on the Rare Native Animals of Rhode Island List.

The Smith Hill neighborhood in Providence was selected as the site. 200 concrete lawn statues representing various animal species selected from ones listed as threatened, endangered, or extirpated in Rhode Island were modeled, molded and cast. The species used include: Atlantic Salmon, Atlantic Sturgeon, Northern Harrier, Barn Owl, Bobcat, Northern Diamondback Terrapin, Atlantic Green Turtle, Eastern Spadefoot Toad, American Burying Beetle, Pied-billed Grebe and Upland Sandpiper. The selected animal species were cast varying in scale from smaller to larger than life, using traditional lawn ornaments as a reference. The lawn statues were placed in the yards of any willing participants in the neighborhood.

The project was commissioned by the City of Providence's Office of Cultural Affairs for the Convergence 2002 International Arts Festival. The Smith Hill Community Development Corporation generously assisted in the administration of "Smith Hill Visions, Concrete Dreams". They provided the 5 car garage used as studio and secured the YouthRap grant from the city that paid the kids in the neighborhood who assisted in casting and placing the pieces.

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Gregg Schlanger interview on News Channel 10 Providence, Rhode Island