Despite the seemingly endless rain over the past week or so, passersby found a little joy at the corner of Richmond and Clifford Streets. Aleksandra Azbel's art piece revealed the special feature installed last Autumn: brilliant circles of large-blossom red tulips emerged in a burst of color.
Just a quick update to earlier item (see article on "The Heavy Hitter" below) that reported the partial demise of the billboard atop the old Karma, Level II, etc. building. New owner Johnson & Wales University has just completed the job. The final pieces of the structure that supported a long run of promises of loving, caring legal attention to one's woes is no more.
And to make a complete job of it, all the signage on the sides of the building is gone, as well.
No more dress code and "ladies night" signs. No more wall placards for legal services — a great example of targeted marketing: who more likely to need legal advice than the drunken, brawling, gun-toting patrons and, famously, an owner of one of the clubs that infested the building.
All gone. Thanks, J&WU!
After years of staring out the window at billboards advertising everything from tacky legal services to a mysterious substance whose purpose and character we never figured out, it was a relief to see cranes in the parking lot behind the defunct Karma/Level II/etc. site. Now owned by Johnson & Wales U., the building had lost all its former signage... except for the rooftop billboard.
It's most recent version offered the smiling face of The Heavy Hitter, a personal injury lawyer, beaming out into the night sky. Yes, it was handy to have a 12-foot high telephone number posted in plain view in case we suffered a workplace injury, were run over by a runaway bus, ambulance or lawyer's car or slipped on a spill in a supermarket.
So imagine our disappointment after all the work with the torches and cranes, we awoke to see, in the dawn's early light, that one half of the billboard was still there.
Hey, we didn't say it. The New York Times did. In their round-up of 50 places to go this year, they said the 195 land is sculpture-studded. And that's good enough for us.
See No. 33 on their list HERE. (And don't be led astray by the Ocean House photo that illustrates our entry; Watch Hill is not that far from Providence, if you're from Wyoming.)
To bring you up to date, here are the latest additions that the 195 Redevelopment Commission has commissioned for the Jewelry District's already sculpture-studded area.
The Gazing Garden has grown its own garden to reflect on. The Providence Downtown Improvement District planted the corner of Pine and E. Franklin Streets a while back. Now, thanks to the care, feeding and watering by the team in Yellow Shirts you see around DownCity, the garden is flourishing grandly.
Just the other day, a new sculptural piece appeared between Bassett and Clifford Streets. Shown from two sides in the pictures below is RIB Sequence by Kurt Snell. Placed temporarily at the moment, RIB Sequence will be re-assembled on parcel 35 across Clifford Street when the big dirt pile there gets broken down by RIDoT later this month.
Jan Brodie, Executive Director of the 195 Redevelopment Commission, notes that: Seven new pieces are going up at the end of this month/beginning of October. Three on the west side (including Snell’s piece) and two others near the Brown Medical School. Four new pieces will join the original pieces already in place on the east side of the river.
All these sculptures, including the original five that went up in May, will remain on display for up to a year. In the late fall, the Commission will post for new submissions to replace the five original installations. The idea is to keep generating new visual interest in the vacant 195 land as well as providing a highly visible showcase for new creations from Rhode Island's artistic community.
To see the other works already in place in the Jewelry District in this 195 Redevelopment Commission interim-use art project, click here.