The spring 2021 iteration of the Providence Utility Box Program was funded by a generous grant from the Rhode Island Foundation.
The artists of Spring 2021 are: Sara Breslin, Arthur Cayo, Kiera Gonsalves, Lara Henderson, Benny Notorangelo, YSANEL, and ArTwerk
Thinking Outside the Box: Utility Box Painting in Providence
Pensando Afuera de La Caja
Sara Breslin is a RI-based artist whose body of work explores her own struggles and growth as a young woman, including life and death, womanhood, and mental health. Breslin graduated with a BFA from the University of Rhode Island in 2014 and has exhibited her work in many local galleries such as the Jamestown Art Center, Brown University, and Hera Gallery. She currently works with the United Rare Disease Foundation as one of their founding volunteer artists in the Beyond the Diagnoses Exhibition.
“My pieces are driven by memory, mental illness, and the losses I have experienced. All of these experiences have given me the chance to look deeper within myself and discover things I never realized. Through my art I have opened windows to my own spirituality and connecting with my feminine energies.”
Arthur Cayo, City Life Utility Boxer
Arthur Cayo is a Providence based artist living and practicing in Olneyville. He was born in Brooklyn and raised in Rhode Island. Cayo fancies himself a people person and so most of the art he creates are portraits. He is grateful for art because he sees it as an outlet for him to release his energy in a positive way whether it’s painting at home, or painting murals around the city. During the summer of 2020 he started painting heart murals on boarded up storefronts then started painting hearts on pretty much any boarded up building he could find. Cayo decided to use the heart stencil because it was a quick, effective, universal message. He is currently the in-store artist at Mott & Chace Sotheby’s. He looks forward to making more art and relationships.
Kiera Gonsalves, Untitled
Keira Gonsalves is a 19-year-old local Rhode Island artist, also attending URI for a Bachelors in Fine Arts. She has been practicing artwork for the last 9 years, primarily working with pencil, charcoal, and acrylic paint. She started Stone Soup, her small business, to gain more experience and exposure for her artwork.
The themes Gonsalves likes to explore in her work have to do with pain and healing. She finds it interesting that healing, while an overall positive experience, is also a painful process. She captures these feelings as well as juxtaposes the positive experiences and feelings surrounding healing and growing with the reality of a painful transformation. Gonsalves emphasizes these conflicting emotions further through contrast between beauty and simultaneous grotesqueness in the specific imagery and colors used.
Lara Henderson, Prisms
Lara Henderson is a book artist, printmaker and designer based in Providence, RI. She prints out of AS220, a community printshop located in downtown Providence and also runs Make Books, a small business where she teaches book arts and creative coding. Henderson is an educator and presenter and holds a BFA in Graphic Design from UMass Dartmouth and a MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking from the University of the Arts. Henderson’s books are in multiple collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Free Library, the American Philosophical Society and RISD.
Natural, The Fighter
Natural (Benny Notorangelo) is a multimedia artist, focusing mainly on spray paint in recent years. He uses his knowledge of pencil, pen, paintbrush to explain his vision in spray paint. Natural has painted several large-scale murals, with flora and fauna, creating an extremely imaginative world, which he easily creates in a blink of an eye.
YSANEL, La Broad de Mi Alma
Dominican artist YSANEL is a multidisciplinary artist working in poetry, public art, music, sculpture and theater. Her work emphasizes unique character and color play, sometimes enjoying the relationship between modern day and history and always serving BIPOC power. In 2017, YSANEL was awarded the Public Art Fellowship by the City of Providence. Her most known work in public includes a series of portraits on outdoor utility boxes of selected inspirational women for a female empowerment project that was eventually featured in Providence Monthly’s August 2019 issue called The Faces of Street Art. YSANEL also performed as background for Spike Lee’s Netflix Film called “She’s Got to Have It”.
ArTwerk is an interdisciplinary advance studio where we explore the part of Industrial Design that connects users to their environment, and bridges the gap between Art and Design in order to engage audiences with social justice topics. We look at design through a lens of Justice, Liberation, and Equity. In order to design for communities, we examine and engage with the intersectionality of social justice issues to best approach creating design experiences for diverse user groups. Through a series of projects, we will confront and examine our own biases, share stories, rely on our live experiences, listen and learn in order to build empathy, and design for inclusivity through public engagement.
Waterman St. x Benefit St.
Benefit St. x Angell St.
Washington Pl. x North Main St. (two boxes)