Meow City, Woonsocket, RI
the Steel Yard Public Projects team has joined creative forces with Riverzedge Arts young people for a unique public arts initiative to be installed in Woonsocket, Rhode Island this summer! The Steel Yard hired local artist and educator Andrew Oesch to lead the project. Andrew guided the students in discussions about public art, helped them conceptualize a they would want to make, and ultimately developed and initiated art-making activities that were used to design the final piece. Through this process, “Meow City” was born, a multi-layered steel mural depicting playful imagery.
Riverzedge’s Artists In Experience (AIE) program seeks to empower young participants in the Public Art Lab (PAL) to create contemporary works that beautify and inspire the city of Woonsocket through mentorship. The project was funded by The Artists In Experience (AIE) program, through the National Endowment of the Arts. The purpose of this project is to increase student knowledge and skills in the arts while deepening and extending the arts’ value through engaging young folks in their city. AIE supports teens in creation, experience and assessment with professional artists with a focus on concept, history, collaboration and design.
Launched in 2002, Riverzedge provides youth, ages 12-24, with high quality arts education, hands-on jobs training, 21st Century skills, and alternative routes to diploma attainment. Youth explore and express their intelligences and creative abilities to pursue civic engagement, education, and employment, and to dispel the myth that the larger world is closed to them.
Oesch and the Riversedge team began designing Meow-City earlier this year. Oesch travelled to Woonsocket to meet with the team to think creatively about public art and what it means to them. During the fabrication process, the participants visited the Steel Yard to add to their Steel Yard artist experience. They got to see the whole campus, walk .through the studios, learn about our other programs, and then try their hands at plasma cutter! A few days later, they returned to paint primer on their steel shapes.
Who lives in Meow City? You’ll just have to check it out once it’s installed! Stay tuned!