URI students, faculty to work alongside civic-practice artist Frances Whitehead this spring

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Whitehead to address the public Feb. 18

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 11, 2014 — Artist and designer, Frances Whitehead, will visit the University of Rhode Island Feb. 16 through Feb. 22 and March 23 through April 5. Whitehead’s time at the Kingston Campus is part of URI’s newly established Distinguished Visiting Artist Program.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m., Whitehead will speak at Swan Hall in the Agnes Doody Auditorium, 60 Upper College Road. An exhibit of Whitehead’s works will be presented in the Fine Arts Center Corridor Gallery, 105 Upper College Road, from Feb. 17 through Feb. 28. The two programs are free and open to the public.

Planning continues for the events related to Whitehead’s second visit later this year.

Whitehead, professor of Sculpture and Architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has been involved in numerous civic projects and has won countless awards for her work on landscapes and sustainability. Whitehead is the first to be invited to URI’s Distinguished Visiting Artist Program.

“This project is different from what people normally think of as a visiting artist coming to campus. Frances Whitehead will be developing a long-term relationship with URI faculty and students across the University – in the process of creating a new, site-specific work in Rhode Island,” said Sheri Wills, an artist and University of Rhode Island professor.

“She is an unusual artist who works with scientists, engineers and city planners to contribute an artist’s perspective to solving the biggest problems of our times,” Wills said.

URI students and faculty will work with Whitehead on a long-term project that focuses on art and design concepts in relating to coastline resiliency. Whitehead’s first visit to URI will allow her to meet with faculty and students, as well as give her time to discuss the project parameters.

Whitehead has been a successful designer and artist since the mid 1980s. The departments of Art and Art History, Landscape Architecture, Ocean Engineering, Geosciences, and Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design are participating in the project.

If you have questions or need more information about the public event, contact Professor Sheri Wills, Department of Art and Art History, at (401) 874-4823 or by e-mail at sheri_wills@uri.edu. If you would like to learn more about Frances Whitehead, please visit Frances Whitehead.

This press release was written by Ashley Henry, a communications major interning in URI’s Marketing and Communications Department.

Photo Credit: Jerzy Rose