New SouthLight Extension Opens at the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island

September 6, 2016

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), The Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island (SCCRI), the City of Providence, Department of Arts, Culture + Tourism and Local Initiatives Support Corporation Rhode Island (LISC) are pleased to announce the completion of the SouthLight design-build project, an open performance venue and urban lawn for the community and partners of the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island (SCCRI). As part of the Illuminating Trinity ArtPlace America grant, this new green space, facade signage and lit pavilion are the realization of the vision of Southside residents and stakeholders. The space, which serves as a new "front door" to SCCRI, will be celebrated at the SouthLight Opening Festival on Friday, September 23, an event that will be free and open to the entire community.

What: SouthLight Opening Festival

When: Friday, September 23, 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Where: Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island

Details: Performances by SCCRI partners, including storytelling, line dancing and theater; art projects with

RISD students; remarks from RI's Congressional delegation and Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza;

food available from local eateries and food trucks

In addition to the opening celebration, SouthLight will be part of Design Week RI. The public will be able to attend a panel on placemaking presented by the Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island moderated by Jamie Bennett, executive director at ArtPlace America, on September 23 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm as part of Design Week RI.

The venue, designed by a team of RISD students and led by RISD faculty member Aaron Forrest, has a reconfigured greenhouse structure and translucent white walls and roof. At night the pavilion will glow with lighting elements designed by RISD visiting professor Elettra Bordonaro. During events, each wall can open up entirely, turning the venue into a canopy with a natural garden backdrop. The venue and lawn will be available for public and private events and performances (seasonally, spring through fall) via SCCRI. In addition to its community benefits, SouthLight will be an added source of revenue for SCCRI once they begin renting out the venue to the general public.

"Our students and faculty have enjoyed the opportunity to work with creative and inspiring partners from the Southside Cultural Center and the surrounding community," notes RISD Architecture Department Head Laura Briggs. "The project has been honed to its essence after many discussions and our students have learned a tremendous amount through the design and delivery of a real project. But most importantly, I am proud that we have created a project with real impact and experienced the power of art in a public place."

The Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island houses nine partners of community performers, artists and musicians. Their programming is directed toward culturally enriching the neighborhood, educating youth in performing arts, and hosting community performances of comedy, dance, singing and creative hands-on arts. The partners belong to a large range of diverse backgrounds: The Laotian Community Center, Cambodian Society of Rhode Island, Providence Improv Guild, Rhode Island Black Storytellers, Rhode Island Latino Arts, and the Wilbury Theatre Group.

"This outdoor performance space at Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island is a refreshingly good addition to the complex that will enhance our efforts to cultivate, and engage our community through arts," Richardson Ogidan executive director, Southside Cultural Center. "Now let the work of lighting up the arts on the Southside commence."

"The SouthLight installation at the Southside Cultural Center celebrates the power of cross-sector partnerships to creatively bring new resources together in order to strengthen and nurture the cultural vitality of our neighborhoods," said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. "Trinity Square is the doorway to places in our city's most culturally-diverse and vibrant neighborhoods and the cultural hub is an important anchor for community life."

"LISC is committed to improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods we invest in - for 25 years LISC has invested in Providence's Southside," said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. "We believe that SouthLight is the catalyst that will bring vitality to Trinity Square, making it a place where things are happening and people want to be."

The SouthLight project is the result of a year-long partnership and sponsorship between Rhode Island School of Design's Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Social Light Movement, The Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, The City of Providence Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism, Local Initiatives Support Corporation,Art Place America, andRhode Island Housing. In addition the project was made possible in part through additional support from sponsors including The Home Depot, HB Welding, Liberty Cedar, National Grid, Philips Lighting, Shawmut Design and Construction, Unilock, and Unitarian.

About Rhode Island School of Design

Known as the leading college of art and design in the United States, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is ranked #1 in Business Insider's survey of The World's 25 Best Design Schools. Approximately 2,450 students from around the world are enrolled in full-time bachelor's or master's degree programs in a choice of 19 majors. Students value RISD's accomplished faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on approach to studio-based learning. Required courses in the liberal arts enrich the studio experience, equipping graduates to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Through their creative thinking and problem solving in a broad range of fields, RISD's 26,000 alumni exemplify the vital role artists and designers play in fueling global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced "RIZ-dee") and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit and

About Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island

Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island connects, cultivates, and engages community through the Arts. As an umbrella organization Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island (SCCRI) has been cultivating an inclusive and diverse arts and culture community since 2012.

We support our partner tenants by offering affordable space, shared marketing support, and networking opportunities so that they may provide our community with accessible, affordable, and high-quality arts performances and educational programs that connect performers and audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and communities not only across Rhode Island but with regional, national, and international artists and artistic traditions. We envision a vibrant, connected community in discovering, exploring, and creating art. The heartbeat of its Southside, West End, and Elmwood neighborhoods, SCCRI nurtures the voices of artists of color and cultivates leaders who lift up our people. The warmth, and unity of our cultural hub echo throughout Rhode Island and serve as an example of inclusive art-making, kinship, and cultural expression. "Driven by the Community, Fueled by the Arts."

About The City of Providence, Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism

The Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (AC+T) ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. The Department employs arts-based strategies to advance the city's community and economic development as called for in Creative Providence, Providence's cultural plan.

About Rhode Island LISC

LISC Rhode Island is part of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit that equips communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. Since 1980, LISC has invested $15 billion in support for programs that revitalize communities. LISC Rhode Island began its work in 1991 and has since invested $300 million across the state, supporting development of 7,500 affordable homes and 2 million square feet of commercial and community space. For more, visit

For more information, contact:

Danielle Mancuso, RISD PR,, 401.454.6334

Emily Crowell, Press Secretary, Mayor's Office, 401.340.8212

Carrie E. Zaslow, Rhode Island LISC,, 401.996.2944