Art on Wheels


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A new artist is hitting the streets of Rhode Island, and his name is Moby.

Next week, Gallery Z on Federal Hill in Providence will launch the ArtMobile, a mobile art venture — affectionately known as Moby — that will travel around Providence and across the state bringing art to the masses.

 “There are so many art galleries and museums in Rhode Island, but many corners of the state don’t have access to them,” Gallery Z Director Berge Ara Zobian says. “I want to bring art to the people, particularly neighborhoods where art is not accessible, and to places like public schools and libraries.”

Zobian, who began brainstorming the idea about ten years ago, says the ArtMobile won’t be limited to the visual arts. In addition to photography, sculpture, painting and glasswork displays, the bus will also feature projection and performance art.

In order to host such varied mediums, the eighteen-foot FedEx box truck was gutted and revamped with hardwood floors, track lighting, interior/exterior speakers and video monitors.

The final design will be unveiled at the official launch party, scheduled for February 16 at 6 p.m. in the parking lot of Scialo Bros. Bakery, 257 Atwells Ave. in Providence. Randall Rosenbaum, the executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) will be “taking the clothes off Moby,” Zobian says, and the truck will be christened with a bottle of champagne.

Following the unveiling will be a reception next door at Gallery Z, which is currently exhibiting “The Art and Soul of Rhode Island: Home Grown Creations from Gallery Z’s Stable of Talented Artists.”

Zobian says he is currently working on the 2012 ArtMobile schedule, and plans to post the list online next week. Here’s a preview of what he has planned:

March 15: The truck will travel around Providence for four straight hours to celebrate the return of Gallery Night Providence.

April and May: The ArtMobile will go on the road in remembrance of the Armenian genocide. The bus will travel to public libraries, schools and churches to showcase art, film and literature on the genocide. A similar exhibit will take place in May in remembrance of the Holocaust.

June and July: Zobian hopes to turn his attention to the performance arts, with African drummers and projection as the focus. He is in the process of commissioning a silent film to be completed by Rhode Island College masters students. He also hopes to feature New York City artist Kevork Mourad, who combines visual and performance art by projecting his live painting and sketching process onto a screen, with live musicians performing simultaneously.

While Zobian has raised nearly $12,000 thus far, he says he is hoping the Rhode Island art community will continue to support the project. “It’s going to be always modifying, always changing,” he says. “It’s a public art project, so whether people give $5 or $500, it always helps.”

To support the ArtMobile, send your donation to 259 Atwells Ave., Providence, call 454-8844 or visit galleryzprov.com for more information.

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