Alleyway Art at Garden City Center

Look for art in unexpected places.

Garden City Center has collaborated with three incredibly talented Rhode Island-based artists to install murals in the alleyways at GCC. Be sure to take a peek around every corner during your next visit and see if you can find them all.

Looking to learn more about our three artists and their work? Keep scrolling to learn more about each of the pieces.

The Swing of Things

Artist: The Art of Life – Bonnie Lee Turner & Charles C Clear

Peek around the corner next to Francesca’s and you’ll find The Swing of Things. We chatted with this tag team of artists to get the scoop on this cheerful group of kids.

Tell us more about the title of this piece: The Swing of Things:

The title of the mural is “The Swing of Things”, which is a play on words: On the one hand it refers to the children on swings, and on the other, it alludes to the idiom “the swing of things” – where you find your rhythm and get back in the groove; where you’re fully engaged, productive, and moving with the current of life. I think it’s a safe bet that most visitors to Garden City are in the swing of things…

From what sources do you draw the most inspiration for your work?

We do a variety of different work, from murals to paintings, portraits, mosaics, and mixed media work. Every avenue of expression has a different source of inspiration. Generally speaking, sometimes inspiration comes in a flash and you can see what a project looks like finished long before you ever dip your brush in paint. Other times inspiration isn’t a vision at all, but rather an idea or feeling that must be nurtured to be realized.

What do you hope people feel when they see your work?

We hope our work gives people a welcome respite from day-to-day cares and leaves them happier and in a more positive state. We always try to choose a subject matter that lends itself to a life-affirming experience.

What role do you believe art plays on a community level?

Art is a vital form of nourishment that most people are missing from their diet. I’m currently painting a large mural in downtown Pawtucket so this question is fresh in my mind. Every day I can see the positive impact that the work is having on the community. I see it in their smiles. I see it in their waves. I see barriers between strangers dropping because people want to talk and share the experience.

Creating art in the public eye is always an event unto itself, and in many ways, the creating is almost as important as the creation. With public art, no one needs to deviate from their well-traveled path to have a front-row seat. People have the opportunity to see the work develop little by little, day by day, and before long you have Art on a grand scale, springing to life before their very eyes. There is almost a childlike sense of wonder and excitement, and a joy that simply cannot be denied.

How has art helped you celebrate who you are?

We have worked as professional Artists for the past 30 years. In that time we have created thousands of different works of art for a wide variety of clients. Each and every one of these projects has a story, and every story is an adventure. These experiences have given us a rich, full life, and helped to make us who we are today.

Love & Sunshine

Artist: Agonza Art

Nearby Pinkberry, you might be surprised to find the bright, fun Love & Sunshine. We reached out to Agonza Art about her celebration of love and beauty.

From what sources do you draw the most inspiration for your work?

I analyze and spend time in the area where I will be working in. I then design based on what the client wants and what the environment feels like.

What do you hope people feel when they see your work?

Love, support, unity, freedom, comfort, and most of all Happiness.

What role do you believe art plays (or should play) on a community level?

Art is the first form of communication within humanity. It’s a way to tell stories without sentences and creates emotions without explanation. It also creates landmarks and inspiration for others’ creativity.

How has art helped you celebrate who you are?

Art has been the core of my happiness, as every human being needs a coping mechanism of expression. No matter how indifferent I feel or what emotions tend to take over my brain and body. I always step back from the real world and use my art as a way to escape and express what I’m feeling and celebrate what makes me different. As I hope my art can be able to be relevant to someone out there who may be feeling the same.

Boston Art also told us a bit about the meaning and significance of the butterflies to you and your heritage, and I would love to learn more about that.

My butterfly signifies transformation, freedom, and most of how we are beautiful in our own ways as we all have different patterns on our wings. Butterflies have been significant to me specifically due to my family line, as my great aunties from the Dominican Republic (Hermanas Mirable’s “butterfly sisters”) have inspired me to continue the butterfly theme throughout the world. As they had been women to stand up to a dictator to be able to have their rights as women.

Imaginary Music Parade

Artist: Keri King

While on your shopping trip, you may pass by three whimsical figurines dancing along a brick wall. We spoke with Keri King to learn a bit more about her artwork.

From what sources do you draw the most inspiration for your work?

Libraries! I like combing through old books and various picture collections. (Special Collections at Providence Public Library is an amazing resource if anyone out there is looking!) Quirky theater history keeps finding its way into my work as well… More than anything, though, I get excited about face-to-face conversations with people about the communities in which they live and work. Places are filled with story, without exception, and this is absolutely true of any place where I’ve been granted access to install artwork. So, whether I’m creating art at a street festival, or at a high school, or at a bustling outdoor mall, I see this exchange of stories and getting to know one another’s values as an essential and driving part of my process.

What do you hope people feel when they see your work?

I love to surprise audiences with something joyful and a little bit cheeky. I often think about my characters as performers, as if they’ve been pulled from the pages of some illustrated children’s book that no one has ever heard of and set loose in our world, inviting audiences into these unexpected moments of collaborative play and storytelling. I hope that my work stirs up fresh curiosity and a sense of possibility in the spaces it inhabits.

What role do you believe art plays (or should play) on a community level?

As an artist and educator, I’ve seen art act as a dynamic force– not simply of color and shape and texture, but of connection. At its highest level, I believe public art has the power to spark new connections in a community; to stir a new conversation with a neighbor, to strengthen a sense of place and pride, to present a fresh new way of looking at and therefore thinking about and interacting with an otherwise familiar place.

How has art helped you celebrate who you are?

I grew up an only child, with an amazing, badass, and incredibly hard working single mom so, from an early age, I started finding ways to entertain myself. I loved to build imaginary worlds. I came up with stories and drew pictures all of the time. On the whole, I was a pretty shy kid but, when I expressed myself through artwork, I felt empowered, at ease, and like I had this magical way to connect with others. In many ways, my public art practice is a natural outgrowth of that childhood exercise, only the stories that I want to tell have evolved a bit, and the size of my canvas has grown significantly.