Local Businesses Add Value Through Public Art

Partnerships with Blount Fine Foods and U.S. Rubber Lofts lead to the creation of two new murals

When we talk about public art, we’re not only talking about art in public spaces. Many  businesses become supporters of public art by enhancing their spaces with murals, sculptures and other works. In recent years, our Strategic Partnership program has brought public art to the lobby of an office building, the courtyard of a bar, and the interior of a co-working space, and the exterior of a medical clinic, among others.

“By partnering with The Avenue Concept on public art projects, these businesses add value to their communities and enhance their visitor experiences, while also providing valuable opportunities for local working artists,” explains TAC founder/executive director Yarrow Thorne.

The latest examples of this are Blount Fine Foods in Warren and the U.S. Rubber Lofts in Providence. Both commissioned new murals through our Strategic Partnership program.

The mural at Blount’s manufacturing facility at 341 Water Street in Warren (pictured above) was completed in July. The artist is Greg Was Here, aka Greg Pennisten, one of the founders of Providence Painted Signs. Two of the Pawtucket-based artist’s best-known projects are the mural on the rear of Trinity Repertory Company, which was part of his work with Providence Painted Signs, and the “Viva Fall River” mural, which he executed on behalf of the designer, Halfstudio

Pennisten’s mural at Blount pays homage to the company’s rich legacy and the seafood industry’s history in Warren. Full of hidden meaning, this collage-style mural includes several local historical references, including a 1949 plot map of the property, product labels from Blount’s early years, and an oyster house that used to be located there.


The project at U.S. Rubber Lots at 116 Valley Street, which is also a mural, is currently in progress (pictured left). The artist is Mike DeAngelo, a Connecticut-based muralist and fine artist. He previously worked with TAC in 2019 as one of the two artists chosen for its annual mural residency at the Weybosset Facade. He also served as an artist and facilitator for New Haven’s Under 91 Project, the first mural allowed on Connecticut Department of Transportation property.

His design for the U.S. Rubber Lofts mural juxtaposes the building’s industrial past with classical Greek imagery. The figure of Sophrosyne, or Temperance, a Greek symbol of discipline and morality, hoists a train car in her arms, a tribute to the former American Locomotive Company which was also housed in the complex of industrial buildings where the U.S.. Rubber Lofts now stand. Behind her is Wisdom, depicted as an elderly woman.

Blount Fine Foods and U.S. Rubber Lofts are the latest additions to our Strategic Partnership portfolio, which already includes Tiny Bar, Westwey Club, 95Lofts, Paolino Properties and the Point225 innovation center.  

Interested in developing a strategic partnership to bring public art to your business? Contact Sara Mintz, sara@theavenueconcept.org.