7. RI Housing, 44 Washington Street
Medium: Acrylic paint
City Living features the work of 2 city residents: Paul Almeida of Providence and Brenda Wilkinson of Pawtucket. Both artists work at Flying Shuttles Studio. Each piece reflects their personal responses to the theme of “neighborhood”, incorporating observations of their respective city surroundings.
A program founded in 1984 by the Arc of Blackstone Valley, Flying Shuttles is a non-profit studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island that provides artistic and technical training for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The artists specialize in creating handwoven goods and original artwork. The work of Flying Shuttles artists has been shown at the Atrium, Paper Girls Gallery, Narraganset Art Festival, the Fine Furnishings Show, Hera Gallery, The Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, Courthouse Center for the Arts, and the Outsider Art Fair, and in our own window and gallery space at 250 Main St., Pawtucket, RI.
Painting above, by Brenda Wilkinson
About the Artists
Brenda Wilkinson, a life-long resident of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was born in 1962. She has been drawing since she was 5 years old. At Flying Shuttles Studio she draws and paints original works of art, switching gears occasionally to embroider or weave. She states, “I like to draw all kinds of special things like people, animals, neighborhoods, cities, oceans, lakes, woods, trees, and houses. I also like to write songs and poems.”
Born in Rhode Island in 1969, Paul Almeida became interested in art-making as a teenager, when some of his relatives showed him how to use various materials and techniques. Although his disability ultimately prevented him from fulfilling his ambition to be a background artist for the Disney Studios, he did not let it stop him from continuing to make art. His work reflects his deeply felt connections to his family, his workplace, his residence, and his country, employing abstract signs and symbols to depict each of these. Recurring images include hearts, peace signs, crosses, gravestones, houses, mountains and water. He says that his art is an “abstract of my life, surroundings, feelings”, and likes to play with mirror/reverse mirror symmetry, the personal meanings of colors, and keeping his work not completely explainable. Careful thought is given to each of his titles, which flesh out the personal significance of each piece. Paul is a member of Flying Shuttles Studio, a program of the Arc of Blackstone Valley. The studio supports the creative abilities of artists with disabilities.
His work has been shown in Rhode Island at Center City Artisans, Hera Gallery, The Atrium Gallery, Fine Furnishings Show, the Outsider Art Fair, NYC and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s International Art Show in Minnesota. In 2006, the State of Rhode Island purchased one of his pieces to hang in the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and he received a certificate from the Governor Carcieri in recognition of his “artistic contributions” to the State of Rhode Island.