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The Rhode Island School of Design is one of the country's leading art schools and it has a museum to match this lauded reputation. Located on colonial Benefit Street, RISD's museum traces the history of art from antiquity to the present day through more than 85,000 works of art from all over the world. There are also collections showing Providence's history as a manufacturing center for silver, but the main galleries are categorized as follows: The Grand Gallery, Early Renaissance & Medieval, Ancient Greek & Roman, Contemporary & Modern and Decorative Arts & Design.
The Bell Gallery is located in the List Art Center, on the Brown University campus and is open to the public. You will find all manner of modern art in this sparse white space. In one month you could see an exhibit by three artists working with photography and texts, an installation about a vanished Russian cosmonaut and photographs depicting a futuristic society of bog-dwellers. All events at the Bell Gallery are free. Include this gallery in a walking tour of the campus.
Destroyed once by fire and rebuilt in the 19th century, this striking pale stone and wood edifice attracts visitors strolling historic Benefit Street. The Gothic-looking spire rises tall above this corner of College Hill, with its handsome black-faced clock, and the church bells can be heard tolling through a portion of the East Side. The services at the First Unitarian Church start on Sundays from 10.30am.
Riverwalk & Waterplace Park is pegged against the confluence of the Woonasquatucket and Providence rivers in a little corner of downtown Providence. It's best known for its WaterFire events, which are mini-bonfires that bob atop the water to the beat of world and classical music. The city revitalized the entire area in 1994 and the walk makes an otherwise droll stroll into a pleasant one when walking to College Hill over the Washington Street bridge. The park's bridges are fashioned after those classical ones in Venice, and it's not uncommon to see gondoliers gliding under them.
This commanding three-floor mansion sits along the aptly named Power Street in historic College Hill. The house was built in 1786 for the premier Providence merchant of his day and early trustee of the nearby university, John Brown. Now, under the purview of the Rhode Island Historical Society, this mansion preserves original furnishings and decorations from the 18th Century, which includes a nine-shell desk and bookcase as a couple of great examples. As with many historical attractions in Providence, this one offers a glimpse into the life of Colonial America after the Revolutionary War.
Attend services at this English decorated style church. Built in 1862 in open fields, the stone building is now in the center of Brown University located on the East Side of Providence. A peaceful country church feeling pervades the atmosphere of this gothic Middle Age structure. Music of the liturgy drifts into the high alcoves of Our Lady's Chapel. The Chapel affords east and west views, a reminder of parish diversity at St. Stephens. Daily Services, small weddings and funerals are held in the Chapel.
The Providence Performing Arts Center is the second largest theater in New England. It seats 3200 people and it originally opened as a Loew's movie theater in 1928. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places after its 1977 renovation. In this baroquely elegant space, the stage is set for Broadway musicals and concerts. Events as diverse as a Jackson Browne concert or The Sound of Music can be found on this venerable establishment's schedule. Located downtown on Weybosset Street, PPAC (pronounced Pea-Pac, as it is known locally) is close to many downtown hotels as well as other attractions.
AS220 is a non-profit venue that foments love for art in all its myriad forms. They have various resources open to the public, some are free, others require a nominal fee. Some of the workshops and classes include computer labs that teach programming languages, darkroom skills for DSLR Newbies and print shop techniques for traditional media purists. Additionally, inside this 22,000-square-foot building, visitors will find several galleries and a stage where local artists display their talents. There is always something new at AS220.
In 1837, the cathedral was established with the celebration of the first Mass. It is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. The structure is made from brown sandstone and is a standing example of architectural brilliance. Inside the church, green marble is extensively used. Oil paintings and statues form an integral part of this church. The stained glass windows, depicting scenes from testaments, take you back in time. It also has the largest organ featuring 6,616 pipes.
The Providence Children's Museum is a hands-on place of fun and learning for children as well as adults. Here, children can explore the awesome power of air, light and sound in the exhibit entitled Play Power or splash around in Water Ways, a wet and wild playscape of pumps and fountains. There is also Littlewoods, a whimsical woodland environment made especially for younger toddlers. Some educational exhibits include activities that investigate Rhode Island plants, trees and shrubs in the Children's Garden or little guys can go on a time-traveling adventure, solve bridge-building challenges and do much, much more!
The Providence River is a tidal river that is only about eight miles long. It has a two other tributaries in the area, namely the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck rivers. The river is probably best known for its WaterFire events held throughout the year. Additionally, you can see some most historic structures in Providence as well as more modern buildings and bridges while you stroll along its banks.
Federal Hill has one of the most varied, historic and notorious reputations as a neighborhood could have in any city. Today it's filled with ritzy bars, restaurants, shops, apartments and entertainment, though it was not always this way. Throughout its history it has been a hotbed of rebellious activity. After the Revolutionary War, local Rhode Island constituents didn't want to ratify the constitution in 1788, but received the name from the fledgling Federalist nation anyway. Over the next two centuries, Irish and Italian immigrants moved to the hill; the latter proved to be more powerful and they indelibly marked it as the city's de facto Italian-American community. As you walk down Atwells Avenue, you'll definitely know where you are when you see La Pigna (the pine cone) under the gateway arch.