‘Divine Providence’ At WFAC

(11.12) It’s a bit overwhelming at first. Who curates a show like this . . . with over 250 pieces covering four walls of a very sizable gallery. But you soon get caught up in the ‘Divine Providence’ exhibition — up now through November 12 at the WaterFire Arts Center — and it feels like taking a walk around Providence itself. And it’s only “a substantial portion of the entire series”! The prolific Bert Crenca, working with acrylic on canvas, started spooling these quirky gems out during lockdown, bringing much needed joy to our social media feeds. The venue notes:

Crenca’s paintings offer a genuine, loving yet unsentimental perspective of urban Providence. His art portrays the lesser-explored aspects of the city, from its corners and crevices to the in-between spaces. Each piece celebrates the beauty found in everyday life and captures the essence of the city’s neighborhoods from the perspective of a longtime resident. Although each individual Divine Providence painting can captivate with its unique details and character, the series, consisting of over 250 pieces, is best seen as a cohesive installation.

On the table in the center of the room you will find price lists which include some interesting information. Red dots traditionally mean that a piece has been sold, but also that a piece is on loan from a collector. Sean Daly seems to be a fan (I’m assuming that’s THE Sean Daly). Former mayor Angel Taveras had commissioned the painting of City Hall, while our current mayor Brett Smiley and his husband James DeRentis have also loaned the show a few pieces featuring the West End and Olneyville (see below).

Many paintings are still available; boxed sets, as well as two limited edition prints, are available in the WFAC store. The show opened in October.

The exhibition’s programming will conclude on Wednesday, November 8 with a moderated conversation with Umberto Crenca happening at 6pm in the gallery of the WaterFire Arts Center.

Gallery hours: 10am to 5pm, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday/ 10am to 9pm, Thursday. (Closed Monday & Tuesday.)

‘Divine Providence’ through November 12, WFAC, 475 Valley Street, (directions)


I wonder if the Mayor knew that the Cranston Street Armory might soon be in the city’s portfolio when he purchased ‘West End’.

Below is ‘Olneyville’. I could not find DeWolf Street on google maps. Apparently in 2015 the City Plan Commission received a request “to abandon the entirety of DeWolf Street, which lies between Audrey Street and Appleton Street to merge it with [petitioner’s] abutting property.” I guess the sign is still up.


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