The Steel Yard received a $100,000 grant from The Champlin Foundations on November 28 for the restoration of the windows in the facility’s historic studios. Occupying the former site of the Providence Steel and Iron Company, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this gift represents the inaugural step towards the planned renovation and restoration of its’ 9,000-foot industrial arts studios.
With a $92,650 Cultural Facilities grant from the RI State Council on the Arts, the Steel Yard and KITE architects are in the final phases of completing mechanical and architectural plans that will upgrade electrical and mechanical systems, add heat and improved ventilation, and design a new welcome center and gallery. Architectural plans within this scope call for the restoration of the windows that are critical to the environmental and cultural integrity of the facility. One of the most highly visible and impactful elements of the Steel Yard campus, the windows are also key to the improvement of ventilation and heating.
“This is an incredible gift that really launches us into the construction phase of this project,” says Steel Yard Executive Director, Howie Sneider. “We’ve been limited to operating only eight months a year because of structural and mechanical deficiencies. We can now begin to realize our dream of being a year-round shared studio!”
The Steel Yard is an award-winning industrial arts center and Providence’s largest private outdoor venue. The 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 professional workspace allows for community access to equipment for welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, ceramics, and the foundry arts. The facilities at the Yard have become a vital component in the careers of hundreds of independent crafts people and entrepreneurs who would not otherwise have the capacity to establish their businesses or perfect their crafts, while allowing educators the ability to teach students new skills in a creative and communal environment. Over the last 10 years, the Steel Yard has contributed something distinct to the Arts community in Rhode Island by creating shared professional workspace, a venue for the advancement of new sculptural mediums, and a broader definition of public-art.