The AS220 Mission
We, the people of Rhode Island, associate ourselves for the purpose of providing a local forum and home for the arts, through the maintenance of residential and work studios, galleries, performance and educational spaces. Exhibitions and performances in the forum will be unjuried, uncensored and open to the general public. Our facilities and services are made available to all artists who need a place to exhibit, perform, or create their original artwork, especially those who cannot obtain space to exhibit or perform from traditional sources because of financial or other limitations.
AS220 was founded in 1985 on the principle that freedom of expression is crucial for the development of strong communities and individual spirits. AS220′s vision for a local unjuried and uncensored forum for the arts was launched in a one-room rental above the Providence Performing Arts Center with a budget of just $800. Today, the non-profit owns – and enlivens – three mixed-use buildings, totaling over 100,000 square feet, in the heart of Providence’s downtown. Though sizable, AS220 is bursting at the seams with: four rotating gallery spaces, a performance space, a youth program, a recording studio, a print shop, a darkroom and media arts lab, a high-tech fabrication and electronics lab, a black-box theatre, a dance studio, four dozen affordable live/work studios, an AS220 owned and operated bar and restaurant, plus a handful of locally-grown non-profit and commercial tenants. AS220′s facilities and services are available to any artist who needs a place to exhibit, perform, or create original work and its classes and public-access studios are among the most affordable in the nation. Each year, AS220 serves over 1,000 artists, reaching an audience 90,000 strong – and growing.
AS220 has earned a national reputation synonymous with an egalitarian, accessible approach to creative community – offering an alternative to the obstacles of conventional presenting venues. We provide an inclusive forum for any and all Rhode Island artists to share their original artwork embracing the full spectrum of the arts: theatre, dance, poetry, photography, music, printmaking, creative “hacking”, painting, puppetry, and beyond. AS220 is credited as a national model for urban revitalization and has been recognized nationally for its catalytic role in the revitalization of downtown Providence. We recently completed our 3rd, award-winning historic restoration project bringing us to a total of 100,00 square feet of lively, mixed-use space. Each of our buildings is comprised of a vibrant blend of local, one-of-a-kind retail, non-profit office, and arts-related program spaces including galleries, performance venues, and public-access art studios. Each year, AS220 serves over 1,000 artists and is destination for upwards of 93,000 people.
Check out the Original Manifesto that started it all. Click on the image below.