PRESS & MEDIA KIT
THE STEEL YARD- AT A GLANCE
The Steel Yard is a non-profit industrial arts organization in Providence, RI. Our professional workspace enables community access to equipment for welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, ceramics, woodworking, and the foundry arts.
- More than 500 students attend free or subsidized courses annually
- Over 1,461 paid teaching hours provided for working artists each year
- Weld-to-Work, our creative job-readiness training, provides practical and creative skills to Rhode Island’s chronically underemployed
- 10,000 or more people attend cultural events at the Steel Yard each year
- Dozens of public art projects produced annually add up to hundreds of installations across Southern New England
- It is estimated that over 500,000 people see the Steel Yard’s public art installations every day!
- In 2016 and 2017 the Steel Yard reached capacity in nearly all of our programs. We had just about as many students, event attendees, free tours, public project commissions, residents and workforce trainees as the shops could accommodate. Our ability to fulfill our mission is linked to the condition of our site and resources.
Renovations to the facility have addressed community needs head on through expanded and efficiently designed studios. The addition of heat and ventilation where there was none enables an additional four months of operating. This increases the quality of every Steel Yard program and project with cleaner, safer and ADA accessible facilities and an overall gain of 35% capacity across the organization!
The award-winning KITE Architects developed a design that delivers exactly what the community needs to keep working, learning and practicing the industrial arts.
The Steel Yard’s workforce training programs, award-winning industrial arts courses, residencies, and community open studio access will maximize the impact of nearly 1,800 hours of additional shop time annually in an efficient, insulated and heated facility.
- 240 additional hours of paid training programs for low-income Rhode Islanders
- 150 additional annual course registrations
- 450 more paid teaching hours for working artists
- 30 – 50 new youth participants through school partnerships
Industrial art enthusiasts, students, hobbyists, event attendees and tour groups of all ages will enjoy upgraded facilities to participate in all of our programs safely.
- Updated ADA restrooms available to everyone, year-round, supporting students, teachers and program participants with special needs
- Upgraded safety, heat and ventilation for the comfort of diverse audiences
COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT
The Steel Yard is doing our part with an improved facility that reinforces our commitment to a climate-prepared neighborhood that is ready to meet the challenges of the future.
- 40 KW solar array will feedback into the grid
- Complete restoration of the historic electrical system circa the 1920s
- 400sf of asbestos-containing materials are permanently removed
- Repair and replacement of thousands of square feet of windows, retaining the natural light that everyone can appreciate
Access to industrial space for artists is an important indicator of the economic health of our community.
- $183,000 additional annual economic activity
- $100,000 new purchasing of goods from other local businesses
- $8,800 new trainee stipends for extreme-to-moderate low-income Rhode Islanders
- $20,000 in new operating cost
- $40,000 added payments to teachers, fabricators and public-artists
The Steel Yard’s campus is on the National Register of Historic Places, a living example of Rhode Island’s industrial heritage.
- 20,000 sf of restored historic facades including steel and masonry walls, roofs and doors
- 2,000 sf of historic windows are restored and repurposed
- 10,000 additional visitors every year will learn about the site’s history from permanent displays about labor and industry in Providence on multi-lingual signs across the site
THE STEEL YARD PROGRAMS
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.
We believe in a world still made by hands, where individuals, neighbors, businesses, institutions, municipalities, and communities come together to experience the creative process in order to enrich our private lives and public spaces.
The Steel Yard is an award-winning industrial arts center, a manufacturer of custom and functional public art, a craft school, shared studio, and Providence’s most unique private outdoor venue. Our 3.8-acre campus and 12,000sf studio are located on the National Historic Register former home of Providence Steel and Iron, in Providence’s Industrial Valley.
Community members of all ages and abilities rely on the Steel Yard to practice their craft, gain experience and knowledge and launch their businesses.
Open Enrollment Courses provide arts education and practical training while connecting people to the fundamental skills and techniques used in an industrial shop. These courses are open to the public for ages 15 and up, with subsidized tuition and need-based scholarships available. These courses have been widely recognized for their unique blend of technical and creative skill-building.
The Public Projects Department creates commissioned one-of-a-kind functional public-art projects and works closely with artists in communities throughout Southern New England. The program has gained National Recognition as a model that combines the personal expression of artists and community placemaking with economic and cultural outcomes. Locally commissioned work allows the Steel Yard to pay artists and fabricators while providing vital amenities such as bike racks, trash cans, benches and public art throughout New England.
Workforce Training Programs serve under-employed Rhode Islanders living at or below the federal poverty line with access to education, training, and facilities to practice the industrial arts. Our flagship training, Weld-to-Work, combines the creative curriculum of our community courses with public-art fabrication and installations. Weld-to-Work transforms participants from those who typically receive services to being able to give back to their community. Weld-to-Work graduates go on to work in manufacturing/industrial jobs with many returning to the Yard for Public Project commission or work as Teaching Assistants.
Events, both public and private, support our mission by utilizing our nearly two-acre inner campus as a venue to combine the industrial arts with community-building activities. Revenue generated from site rentals helps support facility maintenance while welcoming the community. The Steel Yard’s own fundraiser events play an important role in public education by introducing audiences of all ages to the industrial arts through free and low-cost demonstrations and hands-on activities throughout the year.
Residencies in Ceramics, Metals, and Jewelry provide resources and space for artists to gain access to our equipment and materials and become leaders in the creative community. The program is designed to assist emerging to mid-level artists in growing and strengthening their art practice in a supportive, cooperative environment through access to the Steel Yard’s studios and facilities. Participating artists have the opportunity to work together, to take part in community events and sales and to be creative leaders in a vibrant community shop.
Educational Programs allow the Steel Yard to extend the educational expertise of the community to partner organizations who bring their constituents, students and/or employees for team building and technical training programs in any of the studios.
Volunteers at the Steel Yard are engaged with the Yard at every level of operations from corporate and professional coaching to site maintenance and preparations. Teams collaborate to produce elements for spectacular fundraiser events and community-built infrastructure across the site. Volunteers learn through mentorship and shared purpose while preserving the Yard for the community.
Small Business Incubation in The Steel Yard’s office building, where creative businesses enjoy below-market rent and many other benefits of co-locating at the Yard (current tenants include a sewing studio and a youth craft program).
Community Studio Access There are no private studios at the Steel Yard, but the Yard offers designated community studio access for artists to develop and complete their projects as well as 1-3 month micro-residencies.
The RISD/Steel Yard Kiln is a community resource shared between institutions and intentionally designed to bring together art students, community artists and The Steel Yard residents for the pursuit of new and traditional ceramic kiln design and experimentation.
Rudy Bruner Report for Urban Excellence
For more information on the Steel Yard’s Programs and History Download this Report from the Rudy Bruner Awards for Urban Excellence
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
State Announces $4.6 Million in Capital Grants for Arts, Culture, Heritage, and Public Historic Sites. The Steel Yard to be awarded $300,000. January 9, 2018.
Providence Business News
The Steel Yard’s Weld to Work and Public Projects department featured in the 2017 Annual PBN Giving Guide
Take Magazine wrote an article about what we do here at the Yard and who our shop services in our community. To read all about it, click here Take Magazine covers the Steel Yard (pdf)
Amanda M. Grosvenor provides an exclusive and in-depth exploration of the Steel Yard’s planned $2.7 restoration and construction… The Superstudio.