Rhode Island Cultural Anchor: Chris Dalpe

dalpe makeupChris Dalpe is the Communications and Events Manager at The Steel Yard by day (and also evenings and weekends) and super engaged in creating and supporting other creatives by night (and daytime and weekends). He’s been in Providence for five years, with no plans to ever leave.

We asked him a few questions about his life and art making in Rhode Island for our new series, Rhode Island Cultural Anchors.

RISCA: Give us a brief overview of your day yesterday- what did you do in both your personal and professional life.

CD: When it’s not event season at The Steel Yard it’s not uncommon to see me with my face buried in my phone or on my computer – the curse of the tech-obsessed disconnected millennial, you ask? I’d like to believe not. I’m usually promoting an event, designing posters/booklets/marketing materials…or posting a story about something cool that steel yard (51 of 59) - Chris Dalpehappened. Yesterday specifically? I worked with a phenomenal local illustrator, Pitch Canker, finalizing the design for our Halloween Iron Pour Posters. After work, I scooted over to Cranston to Volunteer at AIDS Care Ocean State’s first Drag Queen Bingo of the season.

RISCA: What do you love about the art community/scene in Rhode Island?

CD: Our ability to collaborate and the enthusiasm I often find in helping one another realize our visions – it’s a little city that packs a big punch.

RISCA: Why do you make Rhode Island your home, and how did you end up here?

CD: Wowza, it’s been 5 years! I finished up school in Portland, ME, got my degree in Digital Art while I was working pretty hardcore for a bunch of local non-profits. My partner at the time shipped off to Michigan to become a master jeweler and change the face of contemporary jewelry as we know it, and I decided to move down to PVD and hang with my sister.  She’s a fantastic local RI horror author who just published her first novel, ‘Parasite Life’ by Victoria Dalpe- check it out!. So here I was… I fell in love with the quirkiness, the roughness of this city… it was a weird place. In just a few years both my brother and other sister moved into town and we considered it a full Dalpe-Family take over of the city and we ain’t goin’ nowhere.

RISCA: What are you the most excited about right now in your art practice and your work as an arts and culture administrator?

calpe-2.jpgCD: AT THIS VERY MOMENT, the next big thing is The Steel Yard’s 13th Annual Halloween Iron Pour and it’s going to be spectacular. Over the past couple months I’ve watched nearly 30 volunteers fabricate larger than life dinosaur sculptures and seen our Studio Managers Ben & Michelle work with a phenomenal group of foundry artists. ALL OF THIS work leads to one spectacular, hot, and inspiring night that we play with fire (safely).

As far as Death Drop Gorgeous goes, this weekend we will be paying homage to David Lynch/ Twink Peaks by recreating the iconic discovery of Laura Palmer’s body on the shore…. but, ya know, with a DDG twist.

RISCA: What is one thing you think the art community in Rhode Island needs?

CD: Money. Lol…. duh. (Even though some of the best, most inspiring and beautiful work comes from working with whatever the hell you’ve got money or not). But really, we need space and freedom to be weird and experimental. The moment we limit ourselves and attempt to make our work align with particular expectations before it’s even had a chance to breathe I think cut ourselves short. I repeat, get weird with stuff.

Bring Your Own Improv Celebrates 10th Anniversary

BYOIBring Your Own Improv (BYOI), an interactive comedy show for all ages, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a special event on Friday, August 3 at the Warwick Center for the Arts. The anniversary festivities will include appearances from previous BYOI cast members, special games, and cake. The night includes a family-friendly show, open to all ages, at 7:00pm and a late night show at 9:00pm.

Bring Your Own Improv first began in August of 2008, at a now-closed venue on Thayer Street in Providence. Improv Jones graciously hosted BYOI at their stage on Empire Street in Providence until the show found their home at the Warwick Center for the Arts in 2011.

“Warwick Center for the Arts has been the home of BYOI for the past 7 years. As an organization, we bring art and culture—in all its facets—to the public; and BYOI is one great way in which we’re able to engage the broader community at the Center,” said Taylor Terreri, Warwick Center for the Arts Director. “Our on-going partnership with BYOI allows us to be part of a much-loved community institution and we’re excited to see what’s next for BYOI.”

While most improv shows encourage audience participation when cast members solicit the crowd for suggestions, BYOI is unique in that audience members are also welcome on stage to play along with each game.

BYOI also runs a Youth Collective—a Friday evening program for teens (ages 13 to 18) that teaches improv comedy as well as self-confidence and social emotional skills. Each Youth Collective session includes one month of lessons and one month of performing on stage. Many youth involved in the Collective have taken multiple sessions because they have developed friendships with their peers and continue to improve their skills.

“I never would have found improv if it weren’t for BYOI, and improv is my passion,” said Youth Collective member Carolyn Morey. “It doesn’t matter how good at improv you are, it’s fun no matter what.”

Finally, BYOI regularly performs in the community for a variety of charities and non-profit organizations. Every month, the cast visits The Izzy Family Room—a family room on the pediatric oncology floor at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

“Families, patients and staff look forward to the night when every can laugh, which reduces distressing emotions, helps families recharge and most importantly, draws people together, removing the isolation so many families feel when their children is battling a serious life threatening illness,” said Erin Scott, Executive Director of the Izzy Foundation. “We are so grateful to BYOI for helping The Izzy Foundation provide programs that help families live, love, laugh and play while in the hospital.

Bring Your Own Improv’s shows are held every Friday evening at 7:00pm (family-friendly show) and a late night show at 9:00pm. Tickets to each show are $8 for adults and $5 for Seniors, Students, Military, and Children Under 12. The cast is available for hire for corporate team building, birthday and holiday parties, school events, private events and fundraisers. In addition to the Youth Collective Program, BYOI also offers adult improv workshops throughout the year. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.bringyourownimprov.com 

David Vieira: The experience of community

One of the co-founder of The Arctic Playhouse Theatre in West Warwick, David Vieira wants to share his love of live performance and community.

Art — in particular, theatre and live music — has always played a pivotal role in my life, starting when I was a teen through now in my 60s. I learned about the world through plays and music. Even if I wasn’t always aware of it, I was learning about life and about living with other people as I was being entertained.

Now that I am older, I am trying to pass on the importance of live entertainment and the arts by being part owner of a community theatre. With two partners, I founded a non-profit theatre in West Warwick three years ago. Seeing the responses of the patrons and the dedication of the hard-working actors and performers has convinced me even more about the value of the arts.

More than ever, it is important to get people together to experience live music and theatre. With our cell phones and computers, and video games, we can be very isolated. The theatre does not only entertain, it gives us the shared experience of being together.

DAVID VIEIRA is part owner of the The Arctic Playhouse Theatre, a nonprofit community theatre in West Warwick. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.
To read more art stories, visit Rhode Island Art Stories. To contribute your own, email: mka [at] mkimarnold [dot] com.

Congratulations to Karen Barbosa – new Executive Director of Riverzedge Arts

karenCongratulations and best wishes to Karen Barbosa on her appointment as the new Executive Director of Riverzedge Arts in Woonsocket.

Barbosa, who assumed the position on July 10, first joined Riverzedge as director of the expanded learning opportunities program. She most recently held the position of education and youth development director.

According to her bio on the Riverzedge website, “Karen Barbosa is a self-described “teacher-nerd”; she’s been in education for over a decade and can’t get enough. Her learning journey has taken her from Colorado, to Vermont, to Boston, Massachusetts, and now Rhode Island. She is a passionate supporter of experiential education and is excited to see Woonsocket serving as a model for innovative hands-on learning programming in the state and nation.”

Congratulations, Karen. We look forward to continuing our work with you.

RISD Museum Capital Improvements Underway via Cultural Facilities Grant

john smith risd grand salon

RISD Museum Director John Smith in the museum’s beloved Grand Gallery, under renovation thanks to RISCA Cultural Facilities Grant

For the past several months the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design has been going through a major renovation of their fifth-floor European Galleries.  This project has been supported through a $250,000 grant from RISCA’s State Cultural Facilities Grant program.

The project supports an extensive renovation project on the 5th floor of the RISD Museum’s Radeke Building, including the museum’s Grand Gallery and adjacent European art galleries. The work includes the demolition of existing ceilings to install a fire alarm system, sprinkler system, and new emergency and exhibit lighting systems; upgrading sensors and security devices; installing wifi; constructing new ceilings; and painting the gallery walls. This work will bring the 5th floor into compliance with the life safety requirements outlined by the State Board of Review and Appeal ahead of a significant reinterpretation and reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection.

The State Cultural Facilities Grant program has played a significant role in supporting a number of projects in communities throughout Rhode Island. The next deadline for applications is October 1, 2017.