Coronavirus and the Arts


Everyone in Rhode Island’s arts community is, no doubt, aware of the Coronavirus disease that is spreading throughout the country and the world, and that has been reported here in the Ocean State.

We are not health professionals, but we’re very fortunate to work with a wonderful team of health professionals at the Rhode Island Department of Health. We strongly advise you to visit (frequently) their excellent webpage of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which contains the latest information on the disease and what we here in Rhode Island can do to stop its progress.

‘As artists we have an additional obligation to protect ourselves and those who come together to see our work.  We are not at a point yet where health professionals are recommending that performances or exhibitions be cancelled – this is, indeed, happening in places around the world – but artists and organizations need to be open and transparent about the steps that they are taking to protect their audiences.  Consider, for example, including a notice on your website and a placard in your lobby or in programs similar to what Trinity Rep recently posted:


All performances, classes, and events at Trinity Rep are, to-date, proceeding as planned. The health, wellness, and safety of our staff, audiences, and artists are our top priority. Our team is implementing best practices and CDC recommendations, while staying in close contact with our colleagues across the country. We are monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation closely and will provide updates as needed. (Updated 3/3/2020)

Consider providing disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer stations to your patrons, and wiping down seats after each performance.

And check out this post from the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response about preparing for the possibility of temporary closures.

We’ll continue to monitor this situation, and communicate via newsletter and social media.  We encourage you to stay alert, and most of all, stay healthy!

Now On Exhibit at the Block Island Airport Gallery: Artist Molly Dicksinson

Image by Molly Dickinson

RISCA is pleased to present works by artist Molly Kugler Dickinson on exhibit January 6th through June 7th, 2020, at the Block Island Airport Gallery. The Block Island Airport Gallery presents the work of contemporary Rhode Island artists in quarterly exhibitions.

Dickinson’s “Fabricated Landscapes” exhibition of recent work features plein-air oil paintings that are a direct response to the moment in the “premier coup” tradition. Dickinson is interested in landscapes that reflect the impact of human activity; thus the term “fabricated” as her chosen locations are no longer in their raw, unaltered state.

The series, painted in Middletown, Maine, and Provincetown, feature landscapes where this intersection of nature and human activity is evident. Examples: the Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge, whose sweeping vistas are the result of the land having been used for grazing, a military station and a garbage dump prior to becoming a park; Pemaquid ME, where the pine forest is unnaturally uniform due to having been clear-cut then subsequently re-growing all at one time; and the Cape Cod National Seashore, whose sweeping, fascinating dunes and vistas are the result of early English settlers overgrazing the area, then planting it with African dune grass in an attempt to shore up the resulting erosion. Little of these lands has escaped the imprint of human activity.

Dickinson asks the question: do we find beauty in unaltered nature only, or have we in some measure adopted a reshaped landscape as our own, more ideal version? As she explores her question in these pieces one feels her hand, her marks remaking the land again. Fabricated Landscapes will be on view through June 7th, 2020.

Exhibitors for the Block Island Airport Gallery were selected by jurors Ana Flores, Nancy Whipple Grinnell and Angel Smith.

The Block Island Airport Gallery, a partnership between the Rhode Island Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, promotes outstanding work by artists living and working in Rhode Island. The gallery will present art to an ever-changing audience of local, national and international travelers.

New Art Exhibitions at T.F. Green Airport and Block Island Airport Galleries

RISCA is excited to announce new art exhibitions on display at Rhode Island’s airports. At the GREEN SPACE Gallery at TF Green Airport, an exhibit entitled FIBER OPTICAL featuring works by May Babcock, Philip Gibson and Susan Matthews is on display from September 30, 2019 through January 26, 2020. At the Block Island Airport Gallery, works by Elizabeth O’Connor are on display October 2, 2019 through January 5, 2020.

In the GREEN SPACE exhibit FIBER OPTICAL, the artists investigate unique possibilities of fiber and craft elements, both innovative and traditional.

May Babcock is an interdisciplinary artist based in Providence. Her studio techniques combine hand papermaking, printmaking, sculpture, historical photography process, and book-arts techniques, creating artwork that addresses place. Since 2017, Babcock has collected seaweeds and pondweeds from Rhode Island waterways, embedding them in pulp during the wet hand papermaking process. First an identification method while exploring invasive and indicator species, this ongoing exploration is now a series of over 100 works.  In FIBER OPTICAL, Babcock is showing small collage works incorporating hand collected samples of marine algae species from Rhode Island waterways along with works that expand upon their intricacies in large-format, formidable ‘pulp paintings’, images made entirely of paper, by pigmenting pulps made from plants.

Babcock  exhibits nationally and internationally, and most recently has shown at The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, RISD Museum of Art, Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Arts, and The Center for Book Arts. She has taught courses in printmaking, papermaking, drawing, and two-dimensional design across the country, including Rhode Island School of Design, Women’s Studio Workshop, and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.  Recently, Babcock was selected as a 2018 Creative Community Fellow, an initiative of National Arts Strategies. She was also awarded a RISCA Project Grant, a National Parks Artist Residency, and installed public artworks in Providence, Pawtucket, and the Illinois State Museum.

You can see more of May Babcock’s artwork at and @maybabcock on Instagram.

Susan Matthews makes color and thread drawings and objects using ceramic and textile mediums. Her drawings on display employ watercolor shapes bound with thread in a painstaking process combining color and texture.  Her Personal Flotation Device represents a new direction in her three dimensional work, providing witty commentary on life near our ever changing oceans.  She received her MFA in ceramics from RISD in 2004. Her work has been shown at the University of Rhode Island, AS220, the Newport Art Museum, the Jamestown Arts Center, the Warwick Museum of Art, and the Hera Gallery, along with other venues. Matthews lives with her family in Jamestown RI, and creates in her studio at the Shady Lea Mill in North Kingston. See more of her work at

Philip Gibson designs, makes and fixes things, as a toolmaker, welder and maintenance mechanic in industry, and teaching others as an instructor in Massachusetts vocational schools and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon.  He discovered the beauty in natural materials during two trips to Italy: the first in the summer of 2000 where an alabaster workshop in Volterra gave him the inspiration to use his skills to carve stone, and the second in 2017 where the tiling pattern on a church floor in Parma inspired the parquetry panels on display at GREEN SPACE.  He combines the beauty of natural wood and stone material with structure arising from his study of mathematics.  In the resulting panels, the wood and stone form their own interplay of pattern and light reflecting from the wood fibers as the viewer’s point of view changes creates evolving perceptions of space and illusion.  Gibsons work is represented online at

At the Block Island Airport Gallery, Elizabeth O’Conner is showing her infrared photography of Rhode Island landscapes. Having first mastered the techniques of black and white film processing and darkroom photo printing,  she went on to earn a Certificate of Photography from the RISD/CE program in 2017.  She discovered infrared photography while working with film.  She prefers the otherworldly, secret landscape infrared evokes and has since moved on to use  infrared photography in its digital form. O’Connor had a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera converted to use a super color infrared filter (590nm) which enables her to produce color or black and white infrared images.  Elizabeth O’Connor is represented by the D. Chatowsky Art Gallery on Block Island and Newport, Rhode Island.  Her websites are at and

Exhibitors for GREEN SPACE were chosen by panelists Saberah Malik, Jodie Goodnough and David Barnes, while exhibitors for the Block Island Airport Gallery were chosen by Lisa Robb, public school arts educator.

The GREEN SPACE Gallery and Block Island Airport Gallery are a partnership between the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, promoting outstanding work by artists living and working in Rhode Island. The galleries present art to an ever-changing audience of local, national and international travelers.