UPP Arts Collection

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About The UPP Arts Collection
This collection documents the artistic, administrative, and educational activities of UPP Arts. The materials in this collection reflect a decade of interdisciplinary collaborations between artists, educators, students, and community members who used place-based art to celebrate and build awareness for Providence’s urban ponds. Their work focused particularly on Mashapaug Pond and its environs, which include the site of the Gorham Manufacturing Company and the former West Elmwood neighborhood. While much of the material in this collection was created by UPP Arts’ founder and Executive Director Holly Ewald, the collaborative nature of UPP Arts means that it represents the work of many different artists and contributors. UPP Arts engaged artists and communities in public art-making through programs like educational prop- and costume-making workshops, film screenings, and the yearly Procession. These activities are represented in the collection through digital photographs and videos; teaching proposals and lesson plans; and artistic works. The collection also traces the grassroots development and evolution of UPP Arts, from its origins in an individual artist project into a nonprofit organization with strong ties to schools, government agencies, and Brown University. The educational resources in this collection derive from UPP Arts’ work with primary, middle, and high schools; its connections to local environmental advocates; and its partnership with the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University. The collection gathers primary and secondary sources that inform what UPP Arts has termed the “four stories” of Mashapaug Pond: its history as a natural resource for Rhode Island’s indigenous populations; its value to industrial production, evidenced in the operations of the Gorham Manufacturing Company; the socioeconomic history of the pond’s adjacent neighborhoods and the City of Providence’s urban redevelopment efforts of the 1960s; and the environmental impacts, both historical and current, on the pond and its surroundings.

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