Overpass Projects

by Henry F. Brown MFA 15 Printmaking, Kenneth Fontaine MFA 15 Printmaking and Julia Samuels MFA 15 Printmaking

The following text originally appeared in v.1: A RISD Grad Journal

Providence’s The Wurks, founded by RISD alumni Colin Bliss and Will Reeves, is a new artists’ workspace in Olneyville. Brown, Fontaine and Samuels applied for a collaborative GS|Grant to build a print shop in the space. Here they describe their progress since summer 2015:

Following six months of setting studs, hanging drywall, and purchasing equipment, we have built a print studio that enables us (and others) to make artwork. We have started printing and our primary objective has been realized. The GS|Grant enabled us to build facilities tailored to our needs, but we have even more ambitious goals: to establish ourselves as promoters and purveyors of the art scene in Providence and beyond. With this objective in mind we have started Overpass Projects, a fine-art publishing house and project space, to promote our own work, pursue commissions, create and house an archive of prints and other art work, promote Providence artists with exhibitions in The Wurks gallery space and ultimately host a multidisciplinary residency program.

The process of applying for the GS|Grant and implementing our plan has taught us about managerial and financial collaboration. We built a framework for the physical facility while clarifying our roles in a site that will evolve over time. We continue to learn how to assign responsibilities and ownership while establishing consensus on everything from ink rags to a vision for the future.

Demonstrating its mission to promote artists from Providence and beyond, The Wurks hosted A Sponge & a Sigh (March 18–April 8, 2016). The exhibition included the work of MFA Sculpture students from RISD and the University of Texas-Austin MFA program to foster inter-institutional and two-city collaborations and conversations. The first of paired exhibitions on the idea of “containment” opened at the Museum of Human Achievement in Austin in February. The second part of this exchange opened at The Wurks with a group exhibition on themes of “release.” The inter-institutional initiative is striking evidence of The Wurks’ exciting and ambitious goals to support artists and the arts in Providence.

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