Providence Biennial DBA

Providence Curates: Cultivating a Transformative Experiment 

Mission Statement

Our mission is to generate curated exhibitions of contemporary art in Rhode Island that expose individuals and communities to transformative experiences, provoking new ways of seeing, thinking and engaging with others. As an effort to strengthen curatorial practices, experienced board members mentor emerging curators and artists in realizing ambitious, creatively conceived, frequently social and environmental justice themed exhibitions, installations or interventions. 

Statement of Purpose

The core program proceeds from understanding art’s capacity to disrupt and transform conventions of perception and experience. Through close mentoring opportunities are developed for the realization of distinctive and provocative curated projects. The guided collaboration identifies a network of resources to help curators initiate creative and strategic partnerships, while aligning with the context of varied host venues—whether institutional, nascent, or alternative spaces.

Board Members

For Board Commentaries on 2020, please click this link:

Sustaining Ourselves in These Trying Times

Native Iranian Roya Amigh earned her MFA in Tehran, and later moved to Boston where she earned a second MFA, in Painting, at Boston University. Numerous solo and group exhibitions as well as artist residencies have followed, as has critical recognition. Roya has shown in academic and public venues from Korea to Greece to the U.S., including Brooklyn; Duxbury; Greenfield (Massachusetts); Katonah, Lincoln (Nebraska); New York City; Nyack; Providence, and Wellesley. She has had residencies in MASS MoCA, North Adams; Art Omi, Ghent, New York, and The Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, New York, among others. 

Roya's latest project reflects the roles of women and the importance of their voices in recent political movements and women’s rights protests, including the Green Movement in Iran, 2009-2010; the Women’s March for America in 2017; and the 2021 Vigil for Sarah Everard in England. In depicting these events which occurred in three separate countries over a period of several years all in the same work, she establishes connections between societies that are too easily dismissed as "Other" and aims to demonstrate that all violence against women is related, even as cultural practices may differ. She intends to connect more with women’s movements in different places when she moves forward with her research. 

Roya Amigh is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has been working on the Digital Archive project, Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran, at Harvard University since 2017.

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Judith Tolnick Champa is an independent contemporary art curator launched by Brown University’s History of Art graduate program, where teaching with objects became her passion and the impetus for a curatorial career. 

Judith's earlier career of academically affiliated curatorial work in modern and contemporary art took place in both public and private Rhode Island institutions. She was curatorial affairs director for Brown’s David Winton Bell Gallery and later director/curator for the University of Rhode Island, Kingston's former Fine Arts Center Galleries. She has curated hundreds of exhibitions in all media in RI, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, performed several terms on the board of the New England Museum Association (NEMA) and is a member of the Art at Watson committee, Brown University. An experienced art writer, she also served as editor-in-chief of Art New England, a longstanding regional art magazine in Boston. 

Cultivating the complementary practices of curating and writing, Judith is founder and president of the Providence Biennial. She is recognized for her focused group exhibitions occurring in unexpected locations, a range of alternative to traditional venues, from a multi-sited exhibition in Queens called Transpositions along the Queensborough Bridge and the National Members' exhibition for A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, Facing Disjunction, to the recent ReSeeding the City: Ethnobotany in the Urban for the RI State House.

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Spencer E. Evans is a figurative draftsman, painter and sculptor who aims to tell detailed stories by using the imagery of specific moments. The aim of his work is to contextualize relationships between internal conflict and external circumstance based on his life experiences. His choice of clothing and dramatic poses/facial expressions in the work is used to reference shared experiences rooted in identity and culture within the Black American community. 

Spencer sees Black expression as a heroic form of communication from one generation to the next. It has existed despite direct violent opposition since his ancestors were brought to American shores. He sees its heroism in the form of overt revolutionary acts as well as survival-based assimilation, and everything in between. He attempts to depict the spirit of this world of expressions in each work, from the subtly nuanced to the completely polarized. "My work is free for any and everyone to witness and enjoy our songs of joy and pain; however, I am speaking to those who know. The Descendants of the Unfadable." 

Spencer was born in Houston, Texas and earned his BFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Missouri and his MFA from the University of Texas at Arlington. He lives and works in Providence where he is currently a Professor of Drawing at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).  

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Jeff Foye is a video artist who lives in Wakefield, Rhode Island. He is the Preparator and Performance Curator at the Jamestown Arts Center as well as Director of Exhibitions for Rhode Island Airports. Jeff collaborates with the artist Gordon Winiemko under the collective brand, JEFF&GORDON. They have exhibited across the Los Angeles area and internationally. Jeff’s work consists of interventions, performances, videos and an 8-hour long split-screen movie.

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Jocelyn Foye is a Connecticut native who bonds her artistic training and practice as a contemporary feminist sculptor and design professor to the social justice movement. Jocelyn is also the Executive Director of the feminist, anti-racist artivist group, The Womxn Project (TWP), a Rhode Island organization dedicated to building a strong movement, harnessing the powers of art, activism and advocacy. Cultivating innovation, ARTivism is practiced as a means to move beyond traditional paradigms of community activism. 

Jocelyn earned her MFA from California State University, Long Beach. Her BA was awarded by Trinity College, Hartford. Working through the Wakefield, RI office, Jocelyn is currently the Design Director for the Oakland, California-based software company, Crow Canyon Software. She is a recipient of the 2014 NEA and City of Long Beach, California Arts Grant and was recognized as a prestigious Emerging Visual Artist fellow through the California Community Foundation, having lived on the west coast for thirteen years before returning to New England.  

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With a background in writing and painting, Pamela Markham Heller divides her time between Westerly and New York City, where she had a painting studio for 30 years. Her immersion in contemporary art coincided with raising a family in the city. Pamela has written general features for newspapers and magazines (Gannett, Parade, House & Garden) and reviews for art journals (Arti, the former art magazine published in Athens, Greece; Review; Art New England). She has led children’s studio workshops for and later became a board member of Doing Art Together, Inc., an acclaimed studio art program that originated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Pamela continues to serve on the Museum of Modern Art’s Contemporary Arts Council, which she joined in 1983. As a collector of contemporary art she has traveled extensively to exhibitions and art events in the US and abroad. International sites include Havana, Guadalajara, Sāo Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Istanbul, Venice and Kassel. 

Pamela is currently engaged in letterpress printing and book arts. Having discovered an SP-20 Vandercook proof press languishing on the campus of the independent girls’ high school and her alma mater, Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut, she collaborated with the English teacher and a press journeyman Joe Riedel to refurbish the machine and establish Agere Press, the school’s now flourishing letterpress initiative. Agere means “to do, to act” and is part of Westover’s motto, Cogitare Agere Esse: to think, to do, to be. 

Pam’s own press is housed in her former garage in Westerly, where she produces works under the imprint of 2Dog Press. 

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Lisa Scull is a designer of woven textiles with a strong focus on structural and material developments and innovations that she explores on Jacquard looms and 24 harness Dobby looms. She is particularly interested in investigating how the overlapping systems of woven structure, pattern, and color interact with the physical properties of material to bring about unexpected phenomena of light, shadow, color, dimensionality, and texture. 

Lisa has taught in the Textile Department at RISD as a Senior Critic for the past 34 years. During this time she has also designed and developed textiles for the field of interiors as an independent designer and consultant. Prior to that she worked in New York City for Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc. as Senior Weave Designer and Associate Design Director. 

As an independent designer and consultant Lisa has developed fabric collections with Maharam in NYC, Himatsingka Seide in India, Valdese Weavers in North Carolina, Rohleder in Germany, and Sekers in England. Her fabrics have been placed in the lines of leading textile firms around the world, including Pollack & Associates, Zimmerman Rhode, Dedar, Maharam, DesignTex, Sacho Hesslein, and Romo. 

Lisa received a BA in Political Philosophy from Middlebury College, and a BFA in Textiles from RISD.  

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In 2017 Jonny Skye opened Skye Gallery in Providence, RI with a mission to "celebrate contemporary art that speaks to our humanity, challenges the dominant narrative, and offers a vision for tomorrow." Over 50 artists and 42 exhibitions spanned a lively and intimate spot on Broadway until February of 2021, when the decision was made to close the physical space and work toward a wiser model and more generous accommodation. 

Skye arrived in Providence from Oregon in 1987 to attend Brown University and earned a BA in Visual Arts and a MAT in Art Education from RISD. She is an art educator, youth advocate, curator and ideological party planner. Skye also paints and writes. She has held titles such as art teacher, initiative director, reform facilitator, program director, executive director, and business manager, yet curator and owner of Skye Gallery had been her most satisfying role until she joined this board of directors. Skye has four grown children and aside from Providence has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and The Gambia, West Africa.