For the last few years, art collector Joseph Chazan, M.D. and AS220's artistic Director Umberto Crenca have been discovering and researching the finest of Rhode Island's artists.
Since its inception in 2008, their project, titled NetWorks, has documented the talents of 42 such artists. Showcasing the artists' processes, influences, and methods, the project has been presented to the public through exhibitions, discussions, photographic portraits, and video profiles. The project continues to grow as new supporters and partners learn of the endeavor.
Chazan, a long time supporter of the Rhode Island art community, believes that “NetWorks introduces, documents and publicizes visual artists who live and work in Rhode Island. We hope that through the videos in particular, the lives and works of the artists will influence a wide audience of all ages who are interested in art and artists. It is my personal hope that young people interested in art making will be inspired by these examples to work hard to achieve their goals, and that collectors will be inspired to collect art by Rhode Island artists.”
Crenca feels that exposing the work and lives of Rhode Island artists will in turn improve the quality of life throughout the state. He wrote in the accompanying catalogue for the 2008 selection of artists, “The artists of Rhode Island have had enormous influence on shaping the larger community. Today, maybe more than ever, it is essential that our artists are heard. Our quality of life is dependent on it.”
Utilizing the skills of videographer, Richard Goulis, NetWorks has created video portraits of all the artists. You may view them online through YouTube. Starting in November, these videos will periodically be shown on Rhode Island's PBS stations. The public can get a sneek peek of the 2010 artists on Sunday, October 17 at 1:30pm at the Metcalf Auditorium in the Chace Center at the Rhode Island School of Design. A salon discussion with the artists selected for 2009 and 2010 will take place on Friday October 15 from 5 - 7pm at the Providence Athenaeum.
In addition, an exhibition of works by the 2009 and 2010 artists will be shown at the Newport Art Museum from November 6 through January 17. You can read more about the exhibit at the Newport Art Museum in their press release. Bill Van Siclen of the Providence Journal wrote a review of the Networks project. The Boston Phoenix also wrote a review of the project and can be read here.
Malcolm Grear Designers recently designed the 2009 - 2010 exhibition catalogue and poster as well as the identity for the NetWorks's project. Malcolm Grear, who was selected as one of the 2010 NetWorks artist, was the lead designer on these pieces.