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AS220 and RISD collaborate with Shepard Fairey for 100th mural, a 3-decade exhibit and lecture in Providence

Providence, RI - AS220 , Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Shepard Fairey (RISD BFA 92 Illustration) are celebrating 30 years of OBEY GIANT in the city where his first iconic sticker was slapped onto an unsuspecting public while he was a student at RISD - Providence, Rhode Island. Fairey will present In Conversation with Shepard Fairey: Three Decades of Dissent, a public lecture at the RISD Auditorium (17 Canal Walk, Providence) on Monday, October 21st, paint his 100th mural on the Founder’s League building (91 Clemence Street, Providence) from October 21st - 25th, open an exhibit for Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent on Friday, October 25th, at 233 Westminster Street.

In 2010, AS220 founder Umberto “Bert” Crenca reached out to Fairey hoping to “exploit his fame” and raise money for AS220. It turned out that the artist was fond of AS220 from his time in Providence at RISD, and out of this was born the “Providence Industrial” mural behind AS220’s Empire Street complex. Fast forward to 2019, filmmakers Richard Goulis and Sheryl Kopel reached out to Fairey to see if he’d participate in their AS220 documentary. Talk turns to an anniversary of his own: a 30th-anniversary exhibition world tour, with Fairey painting a mural at each stop - and a desire that his 100th mural be painted in Providence, where his career began.

Although retired from AS220, Crenca found the perfect wall for the mural - the Founder’s League building at 91 Clemence Street, with help from Cornish Associates. Inspired by AS220’s championing of free expression, and the power of art to change lives, the mural features Anjel Newmann - alum and Director of AS220 Youth. Fairey will create a limited print of the mural, on sale for $50 in support of AS220’s $5 million All Access Campaign.

On Friday, October 25th, there will be a public opening for the Facing the Giant exhibit at 233 Westminster Street from 6 - 9 PM. For this survey of the last three decades, the selected 30 artworks will be shown as 30 x 41-inch hand-painted multiples (HPMs) which are prints on unique collaged backgrounds with additional stenciling and embellishments. These fine art prints will be available for purchase and a portion of the sales will further support AS220’s All Access Campaign. The show will be up until November 16th, with open hours from Tuesday to Saturday, 12 - 6 PM.

According to OBEY, the works on display at Facing the Giant were “chosen for their importance aesthetically and conceptually, and for addressing critical topics and themes frequently recurring throughout Fairey's career” including “phenomenology, self-empowerment, rebellion, abuse of power, environmental destruction, racism, gender equality, xenophobia, campaign finance reform, the military industrial complex, propaganda, war and peace, and economic imperialism.”

On Monday, October 21st, RISD will present In Conversation with Shepard Fairey: Three Decades of Dissent, from 7–8:00 PM at the RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Providence. There will be a 15-minute documentary screening about Fairey’s last 30 years of work, followed by a conversation with RISD Senior Lecturer Tom Roberts. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP at risd.cc/OBEY. Public can also watch via livestream.com/risd.