Rhode Island State House
82 Smith Street, Providence RI 02903.
Find us on the south side of the State House, facing the Providence Place Mall.
Recording Allowed: Yes
My State House
State Capitol buildings are designed and constructed to give the appearance of permanence, solidity, and grandeur. Yet times are changing: citizens’ confidence in and engagement with government is waning, while new technologies will make aspects of State Capitol design obsolete. What will these buildings look like in the 22nd century? What spaces will they contain — to serve what kinds of activities? How will these buildings and grounds address changing demographics, technologies, and climate? What other social, physical, or political changes will affect State Capitols’ programmatic and symbolic requirements? How can State Capitols serve local communities better? The My State House project invites Rhode Islanders to ponder these questions by suggesting changes to the Rhode Island State House or its grounds. Participants draw or write their Big Ideas on maps which will be used to inspire architects, designers, artists, and community members submitting design/art/programming proposals in the fall. Seven of these proposals will receive stipends to expand on their idea, and the project will culminate in an exhibition at the State House next summer. Join us as we gather at our State House to discuss what a State House of the future might look like, and share your Big Idea on a map! We will hear a bit, too, about the design history of our State House, and about initiatives underway at other State Houses to remove or recontextualize problematic public art.
Marisa Brown is the Assistant Director for Programs of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University, where she teaches graduate seminars titled Introduction to Public Humanities and Critical Approaches to Preservation and Cultural Heritage. Her forthcoming article, “Can This Place Be Decolonized?” looks at the problematic art collection of the US Capitol.
Lane Sparkman is Associate Director of Education and Public Programs for the Rhode Island Department of State. Based in the RI State House, she manages the State House tour program which provides guided tours for over 17,000 visitors per year. She also develops public programs, curates exhibitions, and creates educational materials for teachers, students, and the general public in support of the Department’s mission to make government more accessible and inspire civic pride.