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Mission and History

Our Mission

The Steel Yard’s historic campus is a platform for professional artists, makers and the community to practice and learn the industrial arts.

The organization fosters creative and economic opportunities, by providing workspace, tools, training and education, while forging lasting links to a local tradition of craftsmanship.



The Steel Yard is an award-winning industrial arts center, a manufacturer of custom and functional public-art, a craft school and shared studio, and Providence's most unique private outdoor venue. Our 3.8 acre campus, located in Providence’s Industrial Valley, is a cultural asset that serves as a sponsor and catalyst for innovative approaches to urban revitalization, arts promotion, workforce development, and community growth.

The Steel Yard was founded by Nick Bauta and Clay Rockefeller who purchased the former Providence Steel and Iron complex in 2001 and established it as an industrial arts resource for the community. The founders and earliest members of our community created a place that would serve as a sponsor and catalyst for innovative and positive approaches to urban neighborhood revitalization, arts creation, advocacy and education, workforce development, and community growth.

We are committed to providing excellent educational programs in the industrial arts and feel that everyone is worthy of access to the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to improve their community. Our professional shared workspaces have equipment for welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, ceramics and the foundry arts.

Since our first weld, thousands of people have come to the Steel Yard’s shop to learn and experience the fire-arts. They are youth, students, professionals, hobbyists and artists, and they share in our vision of a world still made by hand. Together they have built a place where individuals, communities, neighbors, businesses, municipalities and institutions experience the creative process.

The Steel Yard has also become a local manufacturing leader, commissioning more than 250 artists and students to create functional public art projects that are installed throughout the region. This limited line of publicly accessible, street-level art includes decorative bike racks, fences, trashcans, tree guards, and benches for local municipalities.

Yet the Steel Yard has grown to be more than an arts organization; our mission attracts community members to use the site day and night as a hub for learning, working and economic development, to earn a living, place votes in local elections, utilize our open greenspace, attend cultural events, and more. 

For more Information on the Steel Yard’s Programs and History Download this Report from the Rudy Bruner Awards For Urban Excellence