PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Building on their previous work chronicling local urban history, students at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities have created “Come Sit a Spell: Memories from a Forgotten Neighborhood,” an immersive art and oral history installation that tells the story of the former West Elmwood area of Providence. On display at the Providence Public Library through January 18, 2015, the exhibition invites visitors to come and sit in within the installation, and delve into the neighborhood’s story through an oral history soundscape of West Elmwoodians sharing their memories.
The West Elmwood neighborhood once stood where the Huntington Industrial Park stands today, along the Providence/Cranston border. The neighborhood was deemed “blighted” by the Providence Redevelopment Agency in the 1950s and slotted for redevelopment into the industrial park as a way to attract new businesses to Providence. Ultimately, more than five hundred homes were demolished. While the neighborhood is gone, memories of a neighborhood remain.
Completed with support from Providence Public Library’s Story Seekers and the Urban Pond Procession, the exhibition follows previous work by Public Humanities students chronicling the histories of both the Mashapaug Pond area and an on-site sound installation of the West Elmwood neighborhood’s history.
“Come Sit a Spell” can be visited during normal Library hours at 150 Empire St. in Providence.