Bannister Community Art Project
The Bannister Community Art Project, a collaboration with community leaders and organizations in Rhode Island was initiated to commemorate the life and legacy of the Black artist, Edward Mitchell Bannister, a founding member of the Providence Art Club (PAC). This endeavor has become a catalyst for many programs and activities that speak to who this artist was and the significant contributions that he and his wife, Christiana Carteaux Bannister, made during their lifetimes.The project, under the auspices of PAC is creating a life-sized sculpture of the artist, sitting on a public bench by Market Square, looking out at the Providence River, sketching in his sketchbook. The sculpture, created by artist Gage Prentiss, will offer an opportunity for pedestrians to sit, pose for pictures, and whet their curiosity about this person. Passersby will access information on a plaque with a QR code and enjoy the wonder and whimsy of imagining who this person from the past was, how his life and art relates to our time, and how he might inspire our journey.
“Sitting on a bench at Market Square, looking out at the Providence River, sketching in his sketchbook, I will capture a moment Edward Bannister repeated countless times in his life. The sculpture and plaque will create an encounter with him where people can sit and pose for pictures, whet their curiosity about his art, and enjoy the wonder and whimsy of imagining who this person was from the past. I want to help elevate him in Providence and beyond.”
— Gage Prentiss, Sculptor of the Bannister Sculpture
Bannister Event Timeline
SAVE THE DATES
JUNE - SEPTEMBER, 2023
Providence Art Club in the Burleigh Courtyard featuring sculptures by Shawndavid Berry
CELEBRATION WEEKEND & SCULPTURE
UNVEILING SEPTEMBER 8 - 10
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 at 6PM
Bannister Project Cocktail Party & Meet the Artists
We invite you to join us Friday, September 8 at 6pm as we kick off the weekend in celebration of the life and legacy of Edward Mitchell Bannister with a special cocktail party in honor of artist and lecturer, Joseph Norman and sculptor Gage Prentiss. Entertainment will be provided by Alexus Lee and Trio.
In 1880, Edward Mitchell Bannister, a founder of the Providence Art Club, abolitionist, and philanthropist helped shape Providence’s role as a vibrant center for arts and culture
Joseph Norman is a renowned artist and printmaker whose work appears in major museums and collections internationally. A lecture by Mr. Norman titled, Bannister to Norman: An Unbroken Link, Sunday, Sept. 10, will be at the First Baptist Church in Providence. Gage Prentiss is sculptor of the Edward Bannister sculpture which will sit in Market Square and be unveiled on Sept. 10.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 from 12PM - 4PM
Providence Art Club Block Party
Free & Open to the Public
Join us at the Providence Art Club September 9th to celebrate our 2023 Block Party! This event is free & open to the public. We want to connect with the community of Providence and surrounding counties, so what better way than to host a Block Party to meet everyone and welcome you through our doors. We will have live music, incredible drink collaborations with local companies, delicious food from our very own food truck, as well as guided studio and gallery tours! We also can't forget the beautiful, tax free art that fills our walls and gallery spaces. We hope to see you there!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 from 12PM - 3PM
Edward M. Bannister Sculpture Parade & Unveiling in Market Square
Celebrating the Life and Legacy of PAC Founder, Edward Mitchell Bannister with the unveiling of the EMB statue. The celebration begins at the Michael S. Van Leesten Memorial Bridge with the Providence Drum Troupe leading the way in a pied piper marching band, gathering party goers along the way. Remarks by city officials and leaders. Performance by Exult choir.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 at 4:00PM
Lecture will take place at First Baptist Church In America
Lecture by Joseph Norman
From Bannister to Norman: An Unbroken Link
Please join us for Joseph Norman's lecture, From Bannister to Norman, An Unbroken Link, on Sunday, September 10, 2023, at 4pm at the First Baptist Church of America, 75 North Main Street, Providence. This talk will be the closing event of the weekend-long celebration of Edward M. Bannister, by the Bannister Community Art Project.
A highly regarded educator and artist, Joseph Norman is widely considered a world-class draughtsman. Many scholars and art historians place him among the most important African American muralists and printmakers of his generation. No stranger to Rhode Island, he has lived in Newport, exhibited at the Newport Art Museum and taught at RISD. His mural, created for the opening of the Rhode Island Convention Center in 1995, can be seen in its main entrance.
Free & open to the public. Limited seating, please register for free on Eventbrite.
DATE & TIME TBD
Dedication of the Christiana Carteaux
Bannister Plaque and Celebration
10 Westminster Street, Providence. Learn more at:
A Special Thank You for Your Support
If you would like to learn more about how you can support the Bannister Community Art Project, please contact
Nancy Gaucher-Thomas at email@example.com.
"I am so excited to read about the Bannister Project that you have organized! This is exactly what we need as an Art Club and we as a society need to be doing. Both my parents, and their parents (members) would be thrilled to know of this sculpture and the broader collaborative efforts - and possible scholarship! I'm delighted to have a small part in bringing this about. Congratulations!"
April 1, 2022
"I enthusiastically support the Bannister Community Art Project and its educational component. It’s an exciting opportunity for TAPA to be a part of bringing the cultural achievements of Edward Bannister and his wife, Christiana, to our community. This project is fully consistent with our mission as a nationally recognized Performing Arts school that actively promotes the arts in the larger Providence community."
—Elizabeth A. Richards-Hegnauer
Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts
March 19, 2022
"Edward Bannister made important contributions to the city of Providence and the state of Rhode Island and we feel that honoring him in the manner proposed will provide an avenue for residents, students and tourists alike to learn more about him."
—David R. Proulx
Rhode Island School of Design
June 23, 2021
Be part of history and help us celebrate Edward Mitchell Bannister by making a contribution to this exciting project
The Providence Art Club will serve as the Bannister project’s fiscal agent/administrator and will work with like-minded nonprofits, such as RISD, to develop programs that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. This community-wide art project will create a broader platform for community engagement and promote Bannister’s historic role through educational programming, a call for public art, and discussion of a Bannister scholarship.