The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) announced today the installation of artist-designed bike racks for One Capitol Hill, the State’s Main Administration Building in Providence. This project, produced in cooperation with the State Department of Administration, provides bike racks for state employees and visitors to use when visiting offices in the Capitol Complex.

The bike racks are produced by the Public Projects Department of The Steel Yard, a Providence-based non-profit that provides a place for the community to practice and learn the industrial arts. The bike racks were designed by artist Brendan Rose, with assistance from Peter Tenney and Devyn Maher. Rose, from Providence, is a multi-disciplinary designer and licensed architect working in the fields of architecture, public art and custom fabrication.

In commissioning the bike racks, the State Arts Council was responding to requests from state employees – including members of the Arts Council staff – for secure and attractive places to park bikes while visiting or working in One Capitol Hill.  RISCA reached out to the State Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) for cooperation on this project and found an enthusiastic partner.

“We were delighted to bring these artist-designed bike racks to One Capitol Hill,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of RISCA.  “We’ve found it’s possible to engage artists to enliven public spaces with artistic and functional works, often at a comparable price to buying a commercially-produced bike rack from a manufacturer.”

The funds for these bike racks came from the State public art program, which established that a portion of State capital construction projects be allocated for the acquisition of works of art to be placed in public places.

If these bike racks prove to be popular with the public, Rosenbaum says there may be opportunities for other functional art, from bike racks to benches, to be commissioned from Rhode Island artists.

About RISCA: The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

About the Steel Yard: The Steel Yard is an award-winning industrial arts center, a manufacturer of custom and functional public-art, a craft school and shared studio, and Providence’s most unique private outdoor venue.

Public Projects Department: In the Steel Yard’s Public Projects Department, we connect communities to artists. We do this by working with cities, towns, businesses, and other nonprofits and organizations to find opportunities in their public spaces for artistic intervention. Then we hire local artists to design and build one of a kind community-oriented products, ranging from trash cans to public sculptures. the Steel Yard provides shop space, tools, materials and expertise to help fulfill their vision.