Thursday, May 28th from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Atrium of at the Peerless Building at 150 Union St. in downtown Providence
The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) will celebrate twenty years of its Most Endangered Properties (MEP) program with the opening of the Most Endangered Properties 20th Anniversary Photo Exhibit on Thursday, May 28th from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. in the atrium of the Peerless Building at 150 Union St. in downtown Providence. The project features images by the city’s most talented photographers that beautifully document the history of the Endangered Properties list and presents a Retrospective of Providence’s twenty most significant preservation stories from the last two decades – highlighting the successes of the program and exploring lessons learned from buildings that have been lost.
Each year, the Society compiles the Ten Most Endangered Properties List with the help of concerned members of the public, and the goal of engaging the public, building owners, and developers in finding workable solutions. This year’s Exhibit celebrates its founding as the public’s voice on behalf of these buildings; recognizes a part of Providence’s current and historic past; and examines the successes and losses. “The Most Endangered Properties Retrospective gives us an opportunity to celebrate the places we’ve saved and learn from the buildings we’ve lost,” says PPS Executive Director Brent Runyon. “By exploring these stories, we will become better stewards of this historic city.”
Whether the threat was arson, neglect, insensitive public policy, or inappropriate development, each of these properties tells a story about our past. In this, the artists are key. Photographer Stephanie Ewens, whose work has been featured in the Exhibit several times, says, “My photography is always about telling a story. Though I usually document human stories, these buildings each have a character inside them that can get lost as neighborhoods evolve. The Most Endangered Exhibit lets us, local photographers, bring the buildings alive again.” “In addition to photos taken over the past two decades, the exhibit will also include new work by students and mentors from AS220 Youth and New Urban Arts. Curated by Neal Walsh, Gallery Director at AS220, the exhibit is being coordinated by longtime PPS collaborator Linda Powell Fitzgerald.
Among those included in the twenty year retrospective is the Cranston Street Armory, a castle-like structure of yellow brick with copper flashing, topped with a slate roof, and frequently listed on PPS’ MEP (7 times in the past twenty years, including the 2015 list). Built in 1907, the Armory was constructed to house the Rhode Island National Guard, which occupied the building until 1996. Since then, this Providence Landmark has been largely underutilized, but was reactivated when Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza hosted his inaugural celebration in the building. The Providence Produce Warehouse is also featured in the Retrospective. Built in 1929 and utilized as a multi-vendor meat and produce distribution site for local and regional restaurants until its last vendor vacated in 1999. While on the MEP three times since the early 2000s, Providence lost this building to demolition in 2008.
Along with images of each of the twenty properties in the Retrospective, the Photo Exhibit will also include a MEP timeline. PPS invites the public to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and view Providence’s historical assets as captured by another of the city’s assets – its artists – on Thursday, May 28 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm (please note, reception time has extended since previous announcements).
Regular Exhibit Hours (after May 28):