The Steel Yard
The Steel Yard is the primary program of the Woonasquatucket Valley Community Build, a nonprofit organization founded in Providence, RI in 2002. The Steel Yard is many things to many people: it is a foundry, a metalworking shop, a ceramics studio, and blacksmithing shop. It is a base camp, a think tank, and a partner. Most broadly, and perhaps most importantly, the Steel Yard functions as a creative crossroads in Providence. It is a place where an established artists working on a major installation can meet a local teenager enrolled in a free blacksmithing course. It is a place where you can attend a lecture and eat a cucumber grown on site. The Steel Yard is the only publicly accessible industrial arts center in Rhode Island. With over 9,000 square feet of workshop and studio space located on the site of the former Providence Steel and Iron, the Steel Yard offers locally unmatched levels of public access to these art forms through free or reasonably priced classes, workshops, and open studios. This combination of opportunities allows us to serve as a creative gathering point for artists of all skill levels to plan and implement collaborative projects at a scale they cannot support in their own studios. Experienced, mid-career and entry-level artists work side-by-side producing and presenting new works and we employ youth and adults alike (at a range of skill levels) in the design and production of our urban furniture line. We also host lectures, readings, and other events and our site is always available for projects that explore the intersection of urban communities and the arts. The Steel Yard is fertile creative ground where connections are made, resources are sought, and opportunities made possible. It is also a place to believe: that the arts are a force for good in Rhode Island, that the urban fabric ought to be woven with local materials, and that every citizen can play a part in this creative revitalization.