Chris 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 happened. 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?
CD: 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.