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City Hall exhibit brings Irish art to Providence

Siobhan Cox-Carlos’ work features landscapes, abstract representations in contemporary exhibit

The Gallery at City Hall unveiled its newest pieces from Irish artist Siobhan Cox-Carlos March 15. Cox-Carlos’ exhibit, “‘GLÁS’ (GREEN): A Contemporary View of the Emerald Isle,” is free and open to the public until May 12.

Cox-Carlos’ interest in art began 30 years ago, and her enthusiasm prompted her to eventually return to school. “I got a degree in 2004 from the Limerick (School) of Art and Design. I’ve been painting ever since,” Cox-Carlos said. The 20 piece exhibit, which is located on the second floor of Providence City Hall, ranges from Irish landscapes to abstracts.

Landscapes make up a majority of the pieces on display. “It started in Alaska, and I was just so taken by one particular … house on props going into the water,” she said.

Cox-Carlos’ paintings made their way to City Hall due to the collective efforts of the Department of Art, Culture and Tourism and the Ireland West International Trade Centre. Some of Cox-Carlos’ pieces had been displayed in the Trade Centre’s offices in Providence, but “this is the first time (these pieces) have been brought out into a public space,” Cox-Carlos said.

Micah Salkind ’06 PhD’16, special projects manager for the Department of Art, Culture and Tourism, curated the exhibit with help from the Trade Centre. “It’s really important that artists are flexible when they’re working the gallery in City Hall because the space is kind of complex,” he said. “(Cox-Carlos) was a perfect artist for the gallery because her work really pops off the walls … we thought it would be great to have the opening in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day,” he added.

This is not the first time an international artist has been featured at City Hall. The Department of Art, Culture and Tourism worked with the Trade Centre last year to bring in another artist, Yvonne King. “One of the things we’ve talked about with (Cox-Carlos) and folks at the Trade Centre is how we can do more exchanges so that artists from Providence are also going to Ireland to do either artist residencies or to do shows. This is the beginning of a longer conversation,” Salkind said.

Mayor Jorge Elorza expressed his gratitude for Cox-Carlos’ contribution to the space at the opening of the exhibit and presented her with a special citation from the city recognizing her work. Like Salkind, Elorza also recognized the Ireland Trade Centre for its contributions, and praised the Department of Art, Culture and Tourism for its commitment to international cooperation. “We brand ourselves as the creative capital … We use every space available to do that. With hundreds and thousands of people coming through these halls every single day, we want them to be exposed to it. What better way to do that than to celebrate the arts?” Elorza said.

Elorza also elaborated on the Department of Art, Culture and Tourism’s future plans for Providence’s arts scene. “We’re constantly looking to expand and do things bigger and better. The biggest splash that we’ve made over the past couple of years is with PVDFest. … We’re always looking for ways to improve it,” Elorza said. He expressed his desire to turn the annual arts fixture PVDFest into an event like SXSW in Austin, Texas. “We can also make it a driver for economic activity that draws even more attention to Providence and the region,” Elorza added. 


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