News & Announcements
Scholarships Applications for 2016
The Steel Yard is dedicated to supporting individual artists in their pursuit of knowledge and financial independence. For many students our open enrollment courses can be just that; a chance to learn an art form or a trade in a setting that encourages experimentation and personal growth.
Sooner than you know... CRUISE NIGHT!
We should be resting from just hosting Fire Camp... but, we're already getting excited about this years Cruise Night! On Friday July 10th, we'll be celebrating our tenth year of cool rides and hope that you'll join us. Check out our calendar page for more info, or join the event over at facebook for
Fire Camp is this Weekend!
The weather is looking great for Sundays event: FIRE CAMP! In addition to the main event, we'll be hosting demonstrations in welding, ceramics, jewelry, and blacksmithing. There will also be and industrial yard sale and food/drinks available! See you Sunday from 1-6pm. Visit our calendar
Fire Camp is only 2 Weeks Away!
Mark your calendar: June 14th, 1-6pm at the Steel Yard! Once again, we will be firing up the forges and the iron furnace on June 14th for our Third Annual Fire Camp. This event will feature hands-on mold making, attendees will have a chance to purchase a sand mold, which can then be scra
The Steel Yard News
News & Announcements April 6, 2017
Scholarships Applications for 2016 December 1, 2015
The Steel Yard is dedicated to supporting individual artists in their pursuit of knowledge and financial independence. For many students our open enrollment courses can be just that; a chance to learn an art form or a trade in a setting that encourages experimentation and personal growth.
We are proud to scholarships in all of our teaching departments, which make our open enrollment courses accessible to students who many not otherwise be able to afford the unique industrial arts opportunity.
Sounds great, right? Follow this link for more informaiton and to learn how to apply.
Sooner than you know... CRUISE NIGHT! June 18, 2015
We should be resting from just hosting Fire Camp... but, we're already getting excited about this years Cruise Night! On Friday July 10th, we'll be celebrating our tenth year of cool rides and hope that you'll join us. Check out our calendar page for more info, or join the event over at facebook for updates. In any event, mark your calendar now becuse Cruise Night will be here before you know it!
Fire Camp is this Weekend! June 11, 2015
The weather is looking great for Sundays event: FIRE CAMP!
Fire Camp photo taken by Russ Jennings
In addition to the main event, we'll be hosting demonstrations in welding, ceramics, jewelry, and blacksmithing.
There will also be and industrial yard sale and food/drinks available!
See you Sunday from 1-6pm. Visit our calendar for more info.
Fire Camp is only 2 Weeks Away! June 4, 2015
Mark your calendar: June 14th, 1-6pm at the Steel Yard!
Once again, we will be firing up the forges and the iron furnace on June 14th for our Third Annual Fire Camp. This event will feature hands-on mold making, attendees will have a chance to purchase a sand mold, which can then be scratched into to create unique designs, patterns, or images. Customized scratch molds will be cast in iron during the event, and be cleaned and ready to take home to decorate your garden or tabletop. During the event there will be exhibits explaining the process and artists and artisans on hand to answer your questions.
Raw Wine: A Benefit Wine Tasting May 26, 2015
Come help raise funds for the Steel Yard while sampling organic and natural wines from around the world! The Steel Yard is teaming up with Campus Fine Wines to bring you an event built on the principle that good food and wine should be enjoyed in good company.
Raw wine, also called real wine, natural wine, or organic wine, is wine that stands in defense of terroir. This wine is unadulterated, non-corporate, and made by hand in small lots by real people. Campus Fine Wines is the go-to shop for raw/real wine in Rhode Island.
There will be food and snacks by local chefs and bakers, live music, artwork from the Steel Yard's artist residents, wine raffles, and more! In addition to the great food and Raw Wine, $25 from each ticket purchase is a fully Tax-deductible donation to the Steel Yard.
Sounds good, right? You can purchase tickets today: https://steelyardrawwine.eventbrite.com
Stay updated on the event over at our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1443148809318558/
Seeking our Next Studio Director April 6, 2015
The Steel Yard is accepting applications for the postion of Studo Director. To learn more about this job posting, read on.
Thank you in advance for your interest The Steel Yard. Due to the volume of applicants, only candidates who will be invited to interview will be contacted. Position is open until filled.
The Steel Yard
TITLE: Studio Director
REPORTS TO: Program Director
STATUS: Salaried, Exempt
SCHEDULE: Full time; Occasional evenings/weekends required.
TO APPLY: Interested candidates should submit a single PDF attachment that includes a cover letter, resume or CV and 5 – 10 images relevant work if applicable The subject line of your email should be: Studio Manger / your name.
The non-profit Steel Yard seeks a full-time, experienced individual to join our vibrant community and manage the maintenance and facilities in our 9,000 sq ft studio facility and 2 acre site. In addition to strong relevant experience, the successful candidates must be a team player with superior communication skills and a clear commitment to building and supporting creative community. The Studio Manager will support the more than 500 students, 100 artists and 5,000 community members that visit the Steel Yard’s studios on an annual basis.
Regulate overall shop safety policies, material storage and equipment usage procedures
Maintain existing and/or purchase new equipment, tools and consumables
Manage ordering of resources, inventory and supplies for all educational programs
Inspect, undertake, or arrange for any necessary maintenance work and /or inspections of major equipment and tenant facilities
Regular inspection of studio safety equipment and repair/ replace as needed
Monitor and ensure high standards of shop cleanliness, including oversight of this standard in instructors, TAs, monitors, Open Studio patrons, students and tenants
Train, hire and evaluate shop monitors, interns and work study students
Oversight of volunteer tasks throughout the Yard
Primary contact for Ceramic and Iron Residency Coordinators and a key role in the development of a Metals Residency with Program Director
Manage studio rentals, daytime rentals, open-studios
Coordination of site access for artists including the newly completed wood kiln
Teach new shop users/instructors/etc. about shop rules and safety procedures
Promote the Steel Yard mission
Establish and oversee annual training and implementation of the following studio safety policies:
OSHA Hazardous Communication, Right to Know
Lock Out Tag Out
Personal Protective Equipment
Zero Discharge Training for Narragansett Bay Commission,
Hot Work Permit Procedure
Oversee annual inspections, including but not limited to:
Work with the staff and board on strategic development of facilities and shop
Participate in the annual fundraiser events
Work with the Executive Director on site-wide access and upgrades
Reports to the Executive and Program Directors, and works collaboratively with the staff
Ability to work with a small but dedicated staff! A team player.
3 years experience as a studio technician or related professional studio experience
Advanced knowledge of the processes and equipment utilized in the Steel Yard studio, including: welding, blacksmithing, ceramics, jewelry, mold making and iron casting
Enthusiasm to work with, offer assistance to, and encourage numerous diverse artists and students in their experimentation and work
Sensitivity to a diverse and inclusive demographic environment and community
Ability to supervise and collaborate with experienced workers and inexperienced volunteers
Formal or informal experience with construction, carpentry, plumbing, electrical or general building knowledge
Ability to manage contractors and work with outside vendors
Interest in becoming an active Steel Yard community member
Knowledge of Mac operating system and Microsoft Suite
Knowledge of or fluency in Spanish
Familiarity with Olneyville, Providence and Rhode Island
BA and/or MA
Familiarity with local industrial suppliers and artists
Full studio access
Discounts on Steel Yard courses
Two weeks paid vacation
Personal time and sick leave
The Steel Yard is the only publicly accessible industrial arts school and center in Rhode Island. With over 9,000 square feet of workshop and studio space, including a foundry, metalworking shop, ceramics studio, and blacksmithing department, the Steel Yard offers an array of affordable and subsidized classes and workshops, and serves as a base camp for the development of new ideas, projects, and partnerships across the state. Along with offering classes and studio access, the Steel Yard produces its own limited line of metal goods on site, including bike racks, tree guards, and garbage cans As a further step towards reintroducing the metal arts to the public, we also host residencies, weddings, performances and other public events and our site is always available for projects that explore the intersection of urban communities and the arts.
TO APPLY: Interested candidates should submit a single PDF attachment that includes a cover letter, resume or CV and 5 – 10 images relevant work. The subject line of your email should be: Studio Manger / your name.
The Steel Yard is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any classification protected by federal, state, or local law.
Help Fuel the Fires this Winter December 11, 2014
There is nowhere else around to access the equipment, knowledge or skills that are available at the Steel Yard.
You can help someone have a Steel Yard experience…
• $75 will fund a public demonstration
• $180 will provide the gasses for welding class
• $365 will purchase safety supplies for our summer youth camp ($1/day)
• $800 will pay for a season of Youth Open Studios
• $2,500 will equip and teach a trainee in Weld-To-Work
• $5,000 will support the installation of public-art across Rhode Island
The Halloween Iron Pour is here! October 14, 2014
On October 25th the Steel Yard brings you Mad Science, our 9th Annual Halloween Iron Pour. The Iron Pour has been called one of Providence’s most impressive Halloween parties and you won’t want to miss it. Prepare yourself for an industrial performance extravaganza.
Cruise Night 2012 Film by Rob Houllahan July 30, 2014
Our friend, and unofficial documentarian of all things Yard related, Rob Houllahan shot some great footage at this years Cruise Night. If you weren't able to attend the event, or you just want to relive all the awesomeness, watch the video below to see all classic and custom cars that converged on our site.
Sneider Named as Executive Director March 26, 2014
The Steel Yard Board of Directors has appointed Howie Sneider to the position of Executive Director, effective March 21, 2014. Sneider, who has served as acting director since December, came to the Steel Yard in 2004 as an artist renting studio space and as the teacher of the Yard's first weekend welding workshop.
Sneider went on to create and grow Public Projects, the Steel Yard's revenue-generating program that employs local artists and metal workers to design and produce public sculptures such as bike racks, benches, trash cans and fences, projects that fuel the local creative economy and support the Steel Yard's mission of building community and fostering creativity through the industrial arts.
Sneider replaces former Executive Director Helen Lang, who resigned in November 2013.
Board members selected Sneider for his effective leadership and his proven ability to build relationships and programs. Under Sneider's tenure, Public Projects has tripled in size, with local artists and metal workers designing and fabricating more than 700 park benches, trash cans, bike racks, fences and other public sculptures for cities and towns across Southern New England.
Sneider is a 2002 graduate of Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Sculpture. He served as board treasurer for the non-profit Groundwork Providence from 2010 to 2013.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Steel Yard has experienced significant growth in the scope and scale of its programming in the past year. There is record enrollment in its community courses in blacksmithing, foundry, jewelry, and welding, and exciting new collaborations in Public Projects. In addition, the Steel Yard is embarking on a strategic planning process that will engage the community and capitalize on its newly-redesigned 3.5 acre site, which is located in Providence's Olneyville neighborhood.
"It's vital that someone who knows the Yard inside and out leads us into the next 10 years of growth and expansion - all in line with our core values. Howie has demonstrated steadfast resiliency and commitment throughout these changing times, and his thoughtful leadership and infectious positive energy earned him the respect of the Yardie family and our partners," said Board Chair Peter Gill Case.
"I am inspired everyday that I come to the Steel Yard. It has become a place of artistic experimentation for a community to coalesce around creative practices. The staff is awesome, and completely dedicated to creating great programs and providing an infrastructure to support the careers of artists and makers," commented Sneider.
He went on to say "Most of all, I am humbled by the hard work that everyone contributes to this grand experiment, and so glad to also be a part of it. I look forward."
SPRING COURSES POSTERS February 11, 2014
Look at our beautiful 2014 Spring courses poster designed by Beth Brandon, isn't great!
Happy New Year! January 8, 2014
Happy New Year, Yardies!
Wishing you all a very happy and creative 2014,
The Steel Yard Crew
Newly Installed Banners on Olneyville Square! December 12, 2013
Congratulations to Joel Taplin and Nick Vacca for fabricating these beautiful and sturdy decorative banners for Olneyville Square! Special thanks to concept designer Pippi Zornova and William Reeves, the City of Providence, OlneyvIlle Housing Corporation and Eagle Tree and Varmint.
Howie Sneider named as Acting Director of the Steel Yard November 20, 2013
Howie Sneider, a longtime Steel Yard employee, has been named acting director of the Steel Yard effective November 18. After the resignation of Helen Lang, Howie will lead the Steel Yard until a permanent executive director is found.
Howie first came to the Yard in 2004 as an artist renting studio space and teacher of the first weekend welding workshop class. Since then, Howie has managed the Public Project department, which has designed and fabricated more than 700 park benches, bike racks and other public sculptures that appear in cities and towns throughout Southern New England. Under his management, the Public Projects program has more than tripled in growth. Howie is a 2002 graduate of RISD with a BFA in Sculpture.
“This is an exceptionally strong time for the Steel Yard,” said Peter Gill Case, Board Chair. “While being in transition, the organization has grown our industrial arts classes, enhanced our Public Projects program, and we are currently celebrating our 10th year with great fanfare. This is exemplary of a strong staff and committed board. We are excited to have Howie at the helm and look forward to continuing the good momentum with all the Steel Yard friends and supporters.”
The Steel Yard Wins Prestigious Award for Urban Excellence August 27, 2013
The Steel Yard, Rhode Island’s industrial arts nonprofit, has been honored with a 2013 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA), a prestigious national award honoring innovative urban placemaking. The Steel Yard is one of four Silver Medalists and has been recognized for its game changing site design of a 3.5 acre historic steel fabrication site and its positive impact on the city of Providence.
Awarded by the Bruner Foundation, Inc. in its’ 25th year of recognizing pioneering urban spaces, the Steel Yard was selected among over 90 projects submitted by 30 states. The RBA is one of the highest recognitions in architecture, planning and urban design, celebrating “urban places distinguished by quality design and their contributions to the social, economic, and communal vitality of American cities.” Begun in 1987, the Bruner Foundation has awarded $1.2 million through RBA to 67 projects.
“Our twenty-fifth anniversary Rudy Bruner Award winners highlight the diversity of innovation in our cities today,” says Simeon Bruner, founder of RBA. “They show us urban excellence at all scales and inspire us with their optimism.”
The Steel Yard will receive an award of $10,000. Representatives of the Bruner Foundation will visit the Steel Yard this fall for a special awards ceremony and the kick-off of the Steel Yard’s 10th anniversary celebration. The award recognizes the transformation of the Yard into “an environmentally responsible campus for arts education, workforce training, and small-scale manufacturing”.
“This award is not only an acknowledgement of the hard work it took to transform the Steel Yard from a contaminated brownfield to an urban oasis, it is also a valuation of plans to bring the Yard to its fullest potential,” says Helen Lang, executive director of the Steel Yard. "Entering our 10th year anniversary, we are working towards increasing our state-wide profile through our public projects, our Weld-to-Work training program, and our education efforts that inspire future generations of metal-work enthusiasts.
"The vision of our founders, contributors, partners and community of artists have fed the site’s re-design, and the Bruner award belongs to them,” Lang said. “The award also belongs to those still to come, who will roll up their sleeves, keep the Steel Yard true to its mission, and embrace the many communities in this Creative Capital," continues Lang.
A selection committee of six experts determined the winners of the RBA, including one Gold Medalist and four Silver Medalists. The Steel Yard’s selection was made after a two-day visit this spring by the committee that included extensive interviews with staff and instructors, board members, community supporters, and city officials.
The Steel Yard was founded 10 years ago by Clay Rockefeller and Nick Bauta, Brown University and RI School of Design graduates who purchased the historic Providence Steel and Iron Co. in Providence’s Industrial Valley alongside the Woonasquatucket River from its original owners. The site now serves as a catalyst for innovative approaches to urban revitalization, arts entrepreneurship, workforce development, small business incubation, and community growth. After an ambitious, $1.2 million environmental cleanup of the lead-contaminated site, the Steel Yard has been recognized by organizations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Providence Preservation Society, the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, and the Rhode Island Historical and Preservation Commission.
Join our Ceramics Cooperative March 25, 2013
Lucky you! There's still room available in our Ceramics Cooperative for you to join and make all your pottery dreams come true...
The Ceramics Cooperative is designed to assist emerging to mid-level artists in growing and strengthening their creative practice in a supportive, cooperative environment. We encourage artists to work together, learn from each other and collaborate in the development of a strong Steel Yard ceramics department.
Download the ceramics cooperative application here: ceramics_cooperative_application_2013 (pdf)
The 2013 residency runs from April 6th, 2013 - December 15th, 2013
- Payment of monthly resident fee:
- FULL RACK: $130 ($1,170 annually)
- HALF RACK: $80 ($720 annually)
- (responsibilities are the same regardless of membership level)
- Attendance at scheduled workdays (4-6 hours a month)
- Attendance at studio safety and kiln safety training
- Attendance at introduction studio class
- Attendance at closing procedure training
- Completion of monthly chores (This will be in development in year one)
- Adherence to all rules and policies of the Ceramics Cooperative and Ceramics Department.
Applications are due : Applications are rolling, but there is limited space available
- All candidates must submit:
- 6 digital images of current work (standard format .jpg @ 1920x1920pixels, 72dpi)
- A current resume
- A narrative description of work or process and reasons for wanting to be part of the SY residency program (no more than 2 pages)
- A completed and signed residency contract (download links above and below)
- A completed Studio Access Contact sheet
- Annual membership fee of $30
Applications may be submitted digitally via email, on CD or in person.
Send applications to:
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Attn: Ceramics Cooperative
The Steel Yard
27 Sims Ave.
Providence, RI 02909
In 2013, coop member selection will focus on merit-based acceptance** that takes into account the overall diversity of experience level, individuals’ areas of specialty and other variables that will best serve to develop a strong, supportive coop population whose members will benefit from the exchange of skills and knowledge. This strategy is designed to meet the Steel Yard’s mission by supporting a growing number of artists in developing their independent practices and studios.
Prior residents and/or applicants will note that this strategy differs from our prior intent to select members through a juried process and to limit the residency to a two-year period. As is often that case at the Steel Yard, experience teaches us new things-and the last two years of the coop’s development have proved this to be true once again. Moving forward, we reserve the right to change our selection process based on the coop’s growth and changing direction.
Notification: Applicants will be notified as soon as possible
**EXCEPTION : All instructors in the Steel Yard’s community programs will be offered member status for the term they are teaching. Instructors who are already members will have their fees waived but will need to move their materials onto shared instructor racks. To clarify: instructors are limited to one shelf on a rack. If instructors want a full rack or a half rack, they may apply to the cooperative and have their fees waived by 1/3 for the term they teach.
What is included?
- Full rack = One red rolling rack for personal storage (4 Shelves), or
Half rack = Half of one red rolling rack for personal storage (2 Shelves).
All other clay department space is common.
- Unlimited use of non-programmed clay department space during non-teaching times and 24-hour access, except when the Steel Yard is closed. (For access, the clay department doors will be kept on a lock box).
- Equipment use includes: Kilns, slab roller, wheels, pug mill, and extruder.
- Materials: some shop glazes provided (This will be in development in Year One),
- 4 firings per month for the full rack, and 2 firing per month for the half rack, each extra firing is $30.
- A late fee of $20 applies if members are 30 days late with monthly membership fee
- If a member becomes 2 months overdue on fees, her/his shelf will be cleared. No notice will be given. No exceptions will be made.
- Members must meet all of the requirements outlined in this document as well as be active in the cooperative to remain in good standing.
Download the ceramics cooperative application here: ceramics_cooperative_application_2013 (pdf)
Apply to be the Ceramics Cooperative Coordinator! February 25, 2013
Looking to be more involved in the ceramics department?
Apply to be the cooperative coordinator! The Steel Yard Ceramics Tech and Coordinator position is designed to support the creative practice of an entry to mid-level ceramic artist by providing full studio access and a monthly stipend in exchange for providing tech support and coordination of the Ceramics Cooperative program.
2013 term: approximately 8.5 months, from April 1st 2013 – December 15th 2013
- Coordinate 2013 Steel Yard ceramics cooperative member schedules and rack spaces.Organize all intro sessions in safety, closing and studio procedures
- Organize bi-weekly member clean-ups and firing schedule
- Prepare order lists for department materials
- Work with Studio Manager to maintain, service and repair all department equipment
- Facilitate 2013 clay department members’ use of space
- Communicate department teaching schedule, Steel Yard closures, etc. to members.
- Communicate any member-related issues and concerns to the Executive Director
10 hours a week, occasionally more or less (in consultation with Associate Director). Monthly hours not to exceed 45.
- $ 150 monthly stipend.
- Unrestricted access to department, equipment and kilns (including up to 5 firings)
- One red rolling rack.
Coordinator should show a dedication towards personal artistic growth and strive to generate a body of work to be documented and shared with the Steel Yard community.
How To Apply
All candidates must submit (in person or via email to contact below):
- 6 digital images of current work (standard format .jpg @ 1920x1920pixels @ 72dpi)
- A current resume.
- A narrative of no more than two pages that describes the nature of your work and process, explains how this opportunity will strengthen your overall practice and highlights your relevant experience that applies to this position.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 14th by 5 PM
Application Process and Timeline
Interviews will be conducted between March 18th and March 22nd. A final selection will be made no later than March 26th.
CONTACT: Brian Dowling ( )
2013 Weld To Work Application February 18, 2013
Applications for our Weld to Work program are now available.
Weld to Work is a paid Steel Yard metalworking training program designed to give you skills that will make you eligible for welding jobs in local businesses. This program will introduce you to studio safety, basic metalworking tools, hand and power tools that cut, grind, and drill metal as well as the oxygen-acetylene torch, plasma cutter and MIG welder. Skills will be applied to personal work and a group project in the greater community.
When is the program?
We have on-going programs, typically these run from 12 to 20 days.
Complete and return the application to the Steel Yard as soon as possible. You must be available to be interviewed briefly by phone or in person. Applications will be reviewed as the are recieved. Participants will be selected based on need and the quality of their interview. Any applicants placed on the waiting list will be considered for future programs.
What will I get out of the Weld to Work Program?
You will be paid a stipend and receive a Steel Yard metalworking certificate upon your successful completion of the program.
To quality you must be:
- a Rhode Island resident
- between 18-24 years of age
- interested in learning metalworking
- physically able to participate
- meet Income Eligibility Guidelines
To learn more and download the complete application, click here: Weld To Work 2013 Application (pdf)
Spring courses now online February 18, 2013
"Spring is the time of plans and projects."
- Leo Tolstoy
It's time to fire up torches, light forges and ignite kilns! Don't let this year's record blizzard prevent you from exploring all the possibilities waiting for you at the Steel Yard. Take a moment to imagine the amazing things you can do in our studio: weld a robot, slip cast a thousand rubber duckies, or throw sufficient ceramic plates to feed an army.
This spring season we are offering new and tried-and-true courses to suit any interest in welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, iron casting, and ceramics. Our schedule includes both introductory and advanced courses. Visit our course listing page to learn more and to enroll: courses fill up quickly.
The Steel Yard Seeks Industrial Arts Instructors November 20, 2012
The Steel Yard seeks experienced industrial arts instructors to teach community courses in foundry arts, jewelry, blacksmithing, welding and ceramics in 2013. Instructors are needed for introductory and project based courses; new course ideas are welcomed. Times and dates vary, but Steel Yard courses typically run weekends and weeknights and range from 6 to 30 contact teaching hours during our spring, summer, and fall seasons. Compensation is commensurate with contact teaching hours.
Steel Yard courses aim to give community members exposure to a range of industrial art forms in a safe, fun, welcoming, and creative environment.
Interested artist instructors must have proven experience in their medium and teaching. This includes understanding process, ability to see a project through, correct and safe use of equipment and ability to give clear directions to students of different ages with varying levels of experience and learning skills.
If you enjoy sharing your ‘how to’ skills and feel you have what it takes, please send your resume, examples of your work and a brief statement describing why you would like to teach at the Steel Yard at //' + emailE + '') //]]> ">
The Steel Yard is a 501 ( c ) 3 dedicated to the creative revitalization of Rhode Island’s communities through the cultivation of an environment of experimentation and a community strengthened by creative networks.
Halloween Iron Pour October 3, 2012
Mark your calendar to join the Steel Yard and the Iron Guild for the 7th annual Halloween Iron Pour on October 26th starting at 5:00pm.
$10 donation required.
5:00 - Doors open
5:30 - Reclaim, an aerial dance by Teresa Kochis & Michelle Struckholz, with live music by Cave of Colors
6:00 - DJ Unkle Thirsty
7:00 - Iron Pour Begins, with music provided by The Empty House Cooperative
There will also be a ceramic sale hosted by the Ceramics Cooperative.
Food vendors will be on site. Rain date: October 27th.
Thanks to Rob Houllahan for putting together this video of the 2011 Iron Pour.
Executive Director Job Posting September 25, 2012
A competitive nationwide search is underway for an Executive Director for the Steel Yard (www.thesteelyard.org) in Providence, RI. The expected date of employment is no later than April 1, 2013, with full assumption of duties no later than April 15, 2013.
In 2002, the Steel Yard’s founders had the simple idea that re-connecting people to how things are made would open endless possibilities for fostering creativity and building community. Ten years later, the Steel Yard is a nationally-recognized non-profit industrial arts organization with a two-acre campus on the National Historic Register site of Providence Steel and Iron, a former steel fabrication facility. Every day we acknowledge the deep industrial history of Providence and Rhode Island, and work to harness it once again to promote economic revitalization through creative means. With over 9,000 square feet of workshop and studio space – including an iron foundry; metalworking shop; ceramics, jewelry, and blacksmithing departments; and outdoor multi-use work and exhibition space – we offer a dynamic array of industrial arts and technical training programs designed to increase opportunities for artistic and cultural expression, workforce development, and small business incubation.
Steel Yard programs cater to working artists, students, community members, trades-people, arts educators and entrepreneurs – and contribute substantively to the local economy. Public Projects produces our own line of one-of-a-kind street and park amenities, including art bike racks, tree guards, and trash cans that can be seen throughout New England; and in turn keeps local artists employed and fosters a significant volume of business within the state. Workforce development programming in the metalworking trades prepares Rhode Islanders for careers in design and fabrication. Community courses serve over 300 people annually in our five core arts disciplines. Below market rental opportunities provide both temporary and long-term studio and office space for individuals, companies and non-profits in the arts and culture sectors. And our site is host to a burgeoning calendar of internally- and externally-generated events.
All of this is managed by a small staff working with an annual operating budget of only half a million dollars. Yet, we have access to a $100,000 line of credit to facilitate Public Projects’ growth and, by January of 2013, we will owe less than $250,000 on our 1.5 million dollar site. The Steel Yard built this legacy and created the opportunities before us with multiple revenue streams, including income from Public Projects sales, community courses tuition, signature fundraising events and site rentals; as well as institutional grants and cash and in-kind corporate and private donations.
Facing our second decade, we recognize that the Steel Yard is at an exciting and significant moment in time. We recently completed a $1.2 million dollar brownfield cleanup project, one that received numerous local and national design and preservation awards, including EDRA Great Places. Now, we’re focusing on continuing the renovation of the studio buildings, and considering new programming. We intend to shape the Steel Yard’s future growth by focusing on the values of inclusion, interaction and sense of experimentation that have contributed to our success.
Does the Steel Yard need an excellent administrator who can manage a small, yet sophisticated organization? Yes. But we want more. We’re looking for an Executive Director who will join with the staff and Board to lead the effort to fulfill the Steel Yard’s full potential as a creative hub. If you’re interested in being part of this dynamic process, read on.
The Executive Director, working in concert with the Board, staff, and community, will play a central role in guiding the Steel Yard through the next decade. It is expected that the incoming Executive Director will work with the Board to undertake a new strategic planning process within the first eighteen months of her/his tenure.
The range of compensation for the position is $60,000- $75,000. The Steel Yard offers health and dental benefits (75% for individual plans/50% for family plans) and the opportunity to take free or reduced-fee Steel Yard courses.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
● Program Development: The Executive Director will work with staff to enhance the Steel Yard’s programs, develop new programs, and optimize the use of data to analyze strengths and weaknesses. Specific responsibilities to be assumed for current programs:
o Workforce training: Complete research and evaluation of grant-funded work aimed
at increasing post-program paid internships.
o Courses: Complete internal review and revamp course structure.
o Public Projects: Oversee rapid, recent growth by identifying opportunities for
expansion of current operations, as well as potential for expanded retail production.
● Resource Development/Fundraising: The Executive Director will be responsible for creating and implementing a comprehensive strategy for increasing, strengthening and diversifying the Steel Yard's funding sources. This work will include expanding government, corporate and foundation giving; cultivating and growing the individual donor base; and maximizing special events for fundraising purposes. The Executive Director will engage the staff and board as needed to achieve resource development/fundraising goals.
● Ambassador: The Executive Director, as the chief advocate for and champion of the organization, will enhance the image and promote understanding of the Steel Yard to our local, regional and national audiences and stakeholders. S/he will represent the Steel Yard at appropriate functions and make effective public presentations. S/he will raise the profile and build awareness of the organization via:
○ Partnerships and Collaborations:
■ Establish and maintain contacts and cultivate collaborations to ensure the representation of
the Steel Yard’s concerns with key individuals in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.
■ Assure professional relationships with individuals and organizations that share a stake in the
Steel Yard’s mission, and cultivate new partnerships.
○ Communications and Marketing:
■ Develop and implement effective marketing/communication strategies, objectives and tactics.
■ Oversee sustainable marketing outreach to raise the visibility of the Steel Yard among our
various constituencies in the arts, business, and civic communities.
o Upgrade and leverage the website and other online and social marketing vehicles.
● Human Resources Management: The Executive Director is the principal human resources officer for the Steel Yard and will:
o Ensure that necessary human resources are developed by fostering a culture of mutual respect
o Build accountability through clear expectations and regular performance evaluations.
o Strengthen staff capacities by modeling best practices and providing professional development
o Oversee staff relationships with contracted employees and volunteers.
o Effectively manage the organization according to authorized personnel policies and procedures
that fully conform to current laws and regulations.
● Real Estate and Capital Improvements: The Executive Director will ensure that all facilities meet
future needs by developing, managing, and maintaining them in ways that allow for strategic growth. Specifically, s/he will:
o Complete the renovation of the studio buildings.
o Revisit existing plans and create a fundraising strategy for development of under-utilized
portions of the property.
o Expand the facility rental program.
● Financial Management – The Executive Director will:
o Ensure sound fiscal accountability and sustainability and direct financial activities and decisions
based on plans and policies
developed in concert with the Board.
o Work with the staff, Board and, particularly, the Board Treasurer, to create and recommend the
yearly budget for board approval, and
prudently manage resources within the budget and governmental regulations.
o Oversee all bookkeeping, accounting, and financial activities.
● Board Development and Support: The Executive Director will work with the Chair and Board to build membership, serve as the primary staff liaison to the Board, staff Board committees as needed, and foster a culture of mutual respect and appreciation between Board and staff.
Our ideal candidate is:
● Passionate and knowledgeable about the role of the arts in community development, and ensuring
economic, social, and environmental
justice through the industrial arts.
● Bold, decisive and able to consider many points of view.
● Comfortable with a range of constituents, and able to represent the organization’s mission with
warmth and enthusiasm.
● An energetic entrepreneur who will develop new sources of revenue and know how and when to take
● Able to work under pressure and meet concurrent deadlines.
● Skilled in managing and supporting staff, and promoting healthy organizational culture.
● Comfortable with unknowns, and able to move issues and projects to consensus and action.
● Experienced in managing a complex budget with a diverse mix of revenue sources and an operating
line of credit.
● Familiar with successfully running a business and/or a fee-for-service program.
● Skilled in working with and furthering the ongoing development of an effective board.
● A good writer and commanding public speaker.
● Computer literate, particularly in a Mac environment.
The ideal candidate will also bring a sense of humor, an entrepreneurial spirit, flexibility and energy to the position.
To apply: email a one-page cover letter and resume to
Deadline for application: 5:00 pm EST on October 23, 2012.
Mark Your Calendar, Ultimate Chef Is Just Around The Corner September 6, 2012
$10 Suggested Donation, children are free
This year, winners from previous years come back to battle for the title of Ultimate Chef. There will be three teams of artists and fabricators competing in our 5th annual head-to-head sculpture competition.
This year, teams are made of winners from previous years who will battle for the title of Ultimate Chef in this fifth annual live sculpture making competition! Each team is made up of four members; a Team Leader, a Sous Chef (a seasoned metalworking pro), an Apprentice (a student from one of the Steel Yard’s youth programs), and a Yardie (one of our instructors or teaching assistants).
At the start of each round, the Master of Ceremonies will unveil a surprise ingredient that each team must incorporate into their work. Once the secret is reveled, teams will have a limited amount of time to cut, weld, and bend steel into a unique work of art that they must present to a panel of judges and the audience for voting.
There will also be tours of our studio, a mug sale by the ceramics cooperative, and a half-time show to be announced.
Want to brush up on past competitions so you know which team to cheer for? Check out previous years here, here, here, and here.
Rain date is September 30th.
550SF Office Space Available for Rent August 6, 2012
We have a clean, first floor office space on site available to rent. This highly desirable workspace has huge windows bring in loads of natural light, as well as hardwood floors and a private bathroom.
This is an ideal space for the creative professional. The property is currently the home to some of Providence's most well respected design pro's including graphic, interior designers and architects.
Located in the Industrial District this office is just minutes to all highway access, and there is ample parking available.
3,550 SF Industrial Space Available to Rent August 6, 2012
We currently have a fabulous work space opportunity available on site. There is a 3.550 SF industrial space with high ceilings, 3 ton capacity overhead crane, large doors, and a concrete floor. The space would be perfectly suited for tenants needing more room to work on large format projects, or other creative artisans.
The space is located within the Steel Yard, and is only minutes to all highway access.
Join other professionals in this creative/collaborative environment.
Call for Submissions: FERROUS July 30, 2012
Hey jewelers and makers of wearable art! Velvet Da Vinci, a prominent jewelry gallery in San Francisco has teamed up with crafthaus for the upcoming exhibition, FERROUS, an exhibition of iron and steel jewelry. The show will be on display in March of 2013, and the deadline for submission is October 1st.
From the exhibitions website:
Ferrous - Steel, iron and pig iron: materials used by mankind for thousands of years. The Chinese were already making pig iron by the late Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 BC) and the usage of iron (Berlin Iron) in jewelry has been well documented.
Velvet Da Vinci Gallery and crafthaus are joining forces to create a new exhibition of jewelry that brings ferrous materials into the contemporary realm. We are looking for artists from all countries who create jewelry in ferrous materials (iron, steel, stainless steel and other iron alloys) or incorporate ferrous elements into their jewelry work.
There will be a catalog of the exhibition produced by Velvet Da Vinci with an essay by Jillian Moore. All participating artists will receive a complimentary copy. Additional copies can be purchased via the gallery.
New video for Cruise Night July 4, 2012
Thanks to our favorite director, Rob Houllahan, we can show you this amazing video of the 2011 Cruise Night. This'll get you excited for this summers event, which is just around the corner, on Friday the 13th!
Public Projects Update June 25, 2012
New shade structure for the Manton Ave. Community Garden.
This unique shade structure was designed and built by Joel Taplin, Lauren Fisher and Will Reeves in the Manton Avenue Community Garden in Olneyville, Providence. The gardeners wanted something unique, playful, and colorful that would also provide shade and protection from the hot summer sun. It was installed into gravel footings that will support the structure while providing drainage as well as an area to plant vines that will be trained to climb the dome and arches!
Mashapaug Pond Floating Sculpture
Steel Yard artists Joan Wyand and Meredith Younger have just completed a project with students from the Sophia Academy and Holly Ewald of the Urban Pond Procession. Collaboratively, they designed a floating sculpture for Mashapaug Pond in Providence. Joan worked with the 8th grade girls throughout the spring to research, sketch, and design the commemorative piece. Meredith then joined the team to tackle the fabrication, helping the drawings come to life. The whole sculpture was launched in time for this years annual Urban Pond Procession, which was held on June 9th. For a limited time this sculpture can be viewed floating in the pond near the Mashapaug boat house.
The piece is a celebration of hope for the future, but is also a somber reminder of the current polluted state of Mashapaug Pond. The Urban Pond Procession is working to increase awareness of the contaminated water and toxins left from years of manufacturing waste and neglect. This years procession, and those that follow, will educate neighbors about the dangers of swimming, drinking or eating fish from the pond.
Artist Statement written by the 8th graders from Sophia Academy.
Gorham factory production near Mashapaug Pond in Providence, Rhode Island, has left the air, land, and water diseased with toxins and poisons. It’s been years since the Gorham factory has been in business, but its damage has been left behind. The air, land, and water are toxic and unhealthy. People are prohibited from swimming in or drinking from the water, where the fish suffer from disease. Students in a nearby school risk their health everyday going to class.
In an effort to raise awareness and support the movement to clean up the area, the Sophia Academy eighth grade class of 2012 has designed this floating sculpture. As part of our art and science curriculum, we twisted wire sculptures, drew sketches, and molded clay to come up with a final model. Our scotched and ideas were realized in collaboration with artists at Providence's Steel Yard.
The sculpture is made of steal, oil paint, plexiglass, and recycled materials. It sculpture carries dying, diseased flowers on one side to represent Mashapaug's past, and holds healthy, bright flowers on the other to show the pond's future. On the top of the sculpture sits a piece of hollowware to represent the Gorham factory. The theme of the sculpture is simply the progression from the past to the future. Our goal is to have people recognize and appreciate our work, while learning more about the pond and its history. We hope that the sculpture will influence people to help clean up the pond and support efforts at air, land, and water restoration.
Cruise Night 2012 June 21, 2012
7th Annual Cruise Night
Part of the Works In Progress fundraising event series
Rain date: July 14th
$5.00 suggested donation
The Steel Yard is pleased to announce that the 7th Annual Cruise Night will be held on July 13th from 5:00 – 9:00pm. This unique event is more than a simple display of chrome and horsepower, but is also an important part of the Steel Yard’s Works in Progress fundraising event series.
Each year, this family friendly event has consistently grown larger, bringing classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts together from throughout the region in an old school rendezvous and show off. The 2012 Cruise Night will include over 70 custom and classic vehicles, in an evening of polished chrome, greasy grooves, raffle prizes, studio tours, and food sold by the famous Haven Brothers.
Come see what’s new at the Steel Yard; learn about our organization and course offerings while checking out New England’s coolest cars and drivers.
For Lease: Work Space/Artist Studio at The Steel Yard May 22, 2012
Work Space/Artist Studio at The Steel Yard (Providence’s West Side)
2800 square feet at Providence’s Steel Yard (www.thesteelyard.org).
Garage door, 3 ton overhead track crane
Great light (bank of windows and skylights), Concrete floor
Access to the Steel Yard’s shop/ equipment
This is ideal space for those undertaking large fabrication/sculpture.
Available for short term or long term lease.
$2,500-$3,000, incl. a month, negotiable depending on length of rental desired.
Call (401) 273 7101 or //' + emailE + '') //]]> ">
Now accepting applications for Camp Metalhead! May 15, 2012
Application Deadline: June 11, 2012
July 16th-July 27th, 2012
9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday
SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE!
Camp Metalhead is a two-week intensive introduction to creative metal fabrication. Each morning offers a unique behind-the-scenes experience at a local manufacturing business or artist's studio. The rest of the day is spent in the Steel Yard studio learning how to weld!
This program covers the basics of shop safety as well as various metal fabrication techniques including MIG welding and oxygen-acetylene torch cutting. Metalheads will first practice their skills on their own individual project to take home. Then, as part of the program, they will move on to design and fabricate a piece of functional public art for a local neighborhood. Past projects include: an information kiosk for Olneyville Square, gates for the Peace and Plenty Playground, trashcans for Onleyville Housing Corporation, a compost bin for D’Abate Elementary, and sculptures to sit atop columns for Grove Street Community Garden.
After successfully completing the program, Metalheads will have access to our Youth Open Studios free of charge for as long as they are in high school or under 18 years of age. During these studio sessions, students can work on their own projects and spend time experimenting in our shop with the support and guidance of skilled monitors.
Camp Metalhead applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 18. Preference will be given to Rhode Island applicants; financial assistance is only available to state residents. Enrollment is limited.
Participants will be selected based on their applications and letters of recommendation. After the Steel Yard subsidy, the cost of the program is $750.00 per student.
Applications for full or partial scholarships must be completed and returned to the Steel Yard by the camp application deadline. Awards will be given in the form of waived or discounted registration fees and decisions will be made based on financial need and available funds.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the camp or the application. You can reach the Program Director, Alma M. Carrillo, by phone at 401.273.7101 or by e-mail at
Camp Metalhead Application 2012 (pdf) Application Deadline: June 11, 2012
We're hosting an Open House May 2, 2012
Friday, May 18th
5:30 - 8:00 PM
We hope you can join us for our upcoming Open House! This free event is a chance for you to come to the Steel Yard and explore all that we have to offer!
Have you always questioned what goes on at the Steel Yard, but never had a chance to swing by, or seen our logo on the handmade public furniture and amenities around Providence and wondered what it was all about? Then come to our open house and get to know us a little better! Even if you're familiar with the Steel Yard or have taken a class here, you should still swing by to hang out with great friends and fellow Yardies.
At the Open House, we'll be offering demos in all media, offering studio tours, hosting a yard sale of tools, a Yardie art show, and an art and merchandise sale. You'll also get to check out our revamped jewelry studio and our new outdoor foundry studio.
Refreshments will be served.
Spring Courses Are Here! February 16, 2012
Our spring courses are now online!
Have you made a New Year's Resolution yet? Make 2012 the best year ever by resolving to take a class at the Steel Yard! Registration is now available for our spring open enrollment courses. So, don't miss your chance to register to learn a new skill or add to your existing knowledge.
This spring we're offering a special blend of classes to suit any interest: blacksmithing, ceramics, foundry arts, glass, jewelry, painting, and welding. You could also take a class forging your own tools, or learn how to zombie proof your house by making custom window or door grates.
Help The Steel Yard Raise The Roof July 29, 2011
The beginning of summer brought some bad weather to the Ocean State, especially on June 8th when an overnight storm uprooted trees, knocked out power, flattened highway signs and billboards and caused many of us to run for cover in our basements.
One victim of that storm was the Steel Yard. Our Middle Studio lost one-half of its roof along with its skylights. The corrugated metal peeled back like a sardine can and landed out in the Yard. Also damaged was the South Studio, home to tenant-sculptor Brower Hatcher’s Mid Ocean Studio. There, a tree broke off at the roof line and wedged itself into the skylight system cracking most of the glass. We are very grateful that no one was hurt and that the damage was not greater. But now our already leaky roof is completely compromised and it will not last another winter.
The Middle Studio is the center of our workforce training programs and our Public Projects fabrication-you know-those locally designed, sourced and built bike racks, trashcans, tree guards and fences that are found all across the state. We need this space to be fully operational to continue these critical programs that are training the next generation of skilled workers and keeping small scale manufacturing alive in Rhode Island.
While the Middle Studio is next on the site redevelopment schedule, the price tag-a whopping $280,000 is a long way from being raised. The loss of the roof changes our ability to wait until the rest of the funds are raised.
Insurance will cover replacement of the damaged portion of the roof but only to the extent of current conditions-and we are not willing to waste those funds.
SO, we have decided to raise the roof now, the right way – with insulated panels and plenty of day lighting to support our artists and fabricators working beneath.
The price to do this? $110,000
To date we have $30,000 committed to the roof-and we anticipate the insurance will cover an additional $30,000. That leaves $50,000 to raise.
A generous donor has come forward with a challenge gift.
For every two dollars we raise, our donor will match $1-up to $10,000
All we have to do is raise $40,000. Not much if we do it together!
So this is where you come in:
A gift of $20 will become $30
A gift of 50 will become $75
A gift of $100 will become $150
You get the picture.
To get the Yardie ball rolling, I’m making a gift of $100!
Every member of the Steel Yard board is also making a personally significant gift!
Won’t you join us?
A gift of any size will make a difference.
Together, I know we can do this.
Now it’s your turn! Please help us RAISE THE ROOF!
Storm Damage, South Studio
Storm Damage, Middle Studio
Apply to compete in IRON CHEF 2011! July 28, 2011
Applications are online to start or join a team and be a part of IRON CHEF 2011! Last year's winners - Butcher Block Mill, LLC, headed by Curtis Aric - are back again to try and claim the title for the 2nd year in a row.
Think you have what it takes to be crowned the next Iron Chef? Apply now by downloading the application below.
Download the team application: Iron Chef Application 2011 (pdf)
Books Beneath the Beams July 1, 2011
On Saturday, July 9th, the Steel Yard welcomes authors Jane Hamilton, Ann Hood, Tom Perrotta, and Anita Shreve to share their work with the public at a free event from 12-4 pm. ‘Books Beneath the Beams’ is presented in partnership with the Providence Community Library and is the first program of what the Steel Yard plans to develop into an annual series of literary gatherings. The day will conclude with a reception and a chance to tour the Steel Yard’s campus and studios. Books will be available for sale throughout the day through Island Books of Middletown. This program is made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Cruise Night June 22, 2011
The Steel Yard is happy to announce it’s 6th annual Cruise Night car show and fundraiser! The Steel Yard’s 2011 Cruise Night will bring over 70 custom and classic vehicles and over 150 people to the unique site in an evening of polished chrome, raffle prizes, studio tours, food sold by the famous Haven Brothers and greasy grooves spun by The Colonel.
Part of the Works in Progress 2011 fundraising event series, Cruise Night will take place on Friday, July 15th, from 5 pm to dark. Each year, the event has grown consistently bigger, bringing together more classic car and bike enthusiasts from throughout the region in an old school rendezvous and show off.
The Steel Yard, located at the historic Providence Steel and Iron site, is a non-profit organization offering arts and technical training programs designed to increase opportunities for cultural and artistic expression, career-oriented training, and small business incubation. The Yard encompasses 2 acres of newly rehabilitated space in Providence’s industrial Valley district that includes a 10,000 square foot industrial shop, artist studios and small business and non-profit offices.
Cruise Night at the Steel Yard
Friday, July 15th 5PM – Dark
Rain Date: Saturday, July 16th
A Call to Artists: City of Providence, National Grid Team Up on Public Art Project to Encourage Energy Efficiency and Recycling June 7, 2011
The City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and National Grid are proud to announce a Call to Artists, inviting diverse Providence and Rhode Island artists and art associations from to submit their concepts for the Fine Art of Recycling campaign.
This campaign will unite a passion for energy efficiency with the city’s longstanding support of creativity and artistic excellence.
In June, the top 10 artists/art associations will begin to put their creative imprints on ten refrigerators that will be placed throughout Downtown Providence for the summer months of 2011. National Grid has developed this “cool idea” to raise awareness of energy efficiency and recycling and to support local culture and the arts.
National Grid has partnered with the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its Responsible Appliance Disposal Program (RAD) to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases through the collection and proper disposal of refrigerated appliances.
Mayor Angel Taveras has pledged to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by signing the Climate Protection Agreement first endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2005, which urges federal and state governments to enact policies that will meet or beat the target of reducing global warming pollution levels to 7 below 1990 levels by 2012.
“This project is a great way to call attention to energy inefficiency and highlight the work of our incredible creative community,” said Mayor Taveras. “We are very pleased to be working with National Grid on this important and timely issue.”
Artists of all ages are encouraged to submit their designs to this competition. Selected artists will be paid a $750 stipend. National Grid and the City will be responsible for installing the works.
The request for proposals can be accessed here.
The deadline for proposals is June 8, 2011.
ABOUT NATIONAL GRID
National Grid is an international energy delivery company. In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.
Camp Metalhead Applications - Due June 12 June 1, 2011
APPLICATIONS FOR CAMP METALHEAD 2011 ARE DUE BY JUNE 13TH
Camp Metalhead is a two week intensive introduction to creative metal fabrication for youth ages 14 to 18. Each morning offers a unique behind-the-scenes experience at a local manufacturing business or artist's studio. The rest of the time is spent in the Steel Yard studio learning how to weld! Camp Metalhead covers the basics of shop safety as well as various metal fabrication techniques including MIG welding and oxygen-acetylene torch cutting. At the end of the program, participants design and fabricate a piece of functional public art to be installed locally.
New This Year
2011 marks the program's first year of offering two camp sessions on a needs-based and scholarship model. In an attempt to meet the growing demand for this program, we have decided to adopt a model which will allow us to simultaneously serve both those who may benefit from the camp but can afford to attend, as well as those who will benefit but cannot otherwise afford to attend.
This change is the direct result of the camp's popularity, the fundraising competitiveness the Steel Yard is facing, and the increasing diversity of students we serve-students whose diversity is not necessarily in line with financial resources (as was true in our early years). Camp Metalhead began out of the Steel Yard's desire to offer underserved high school youth a summer opportunity like no other. Over the past five years, parents, teachers, and youth have persuaded us with compelling applications to look beyond financial need to select students who can benefit by participating in Camp Metalhead. We are committed to make this camp accessible; students will have the opportunity to apply for financial aid or to apply as paying students. Awards will be given in the form of waived or discounted registration fees and decisions will be made based on financial need and available funds.
Participants will be selected based on their applications and letters of recommendation. After the Steel Yard subsidy, the cost of the program is $750.00 per student. Scholarships are available. Applications for full or partial scholarships must be completed and returned to the Steel Yard by the camp application deadline.
Application Deadline: June 13, 2011
Session 1: July 18th-July 29th, 2011
Session 2: August 1st- August 12, 2011
9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday - Friday
>> Download the application
>> Click here for more
Artists Working Shirts May 18, 2011
New Steel Yard tee shirts designed by our own Howie Sneider!
These shirts feature the "Artists Working" graphic on the front printed in yellow and black, with the Steel Yard logo and website on the back. Printed on an army green 100% cotton Guildan or Anvil brand shirt.
Click here for more information and to order.
Camp Metalhead Applications - Now Online May 11, 2011
Applications for Camp Metalhead are now online!
Fill yours out and return it by June 13th.
Clay-Dough May 4, 2011
Remember how much fun it was to play with clay? Spend the evening in a fun and relaxed studio environment hand-building, wheel-throwing, pot-pinching and more.
Bring the kids! Bring a date! Bring your friends!
Refreshments will be available by donation.
Saturday, May 21st from 4 – 7pm
Throughout the evening, shop hand-crafted ceramic goods made by our Ceramics Cooperative members, tour the site and check out the progress on our outdoor foundry.
*Work created during Clay-Dough is not fired, but recycled and re-used in our courses.
$20 for adults and $10 for kids 10 and under.
The Steel Yard
27 Sims Avenue, Providence
VISTA // Socrates Sculpture Park April 27, 2011
Howie Sneider is taking part in an upcoming show at Socrates Sculpture Park. May 8 - August 7, 2011. Opening reception May 8th from 2 - 6 PM.
Priscila De Carvalho
Blane De St. Croix
Michael Clyde Johnson
Registration is now open for our Spring/Summer course season! February 22, 2011
Registration is now open for the Steel Yard's Spring / Summer Course Season!
We cannot wait for our studio to start humming with creative activity this season--it's time to get our torches, forges, and kilns fired up!
Check out our courses page for the full lineup of offerings in Welding, Ceramics,Blacksmithing, Jewelry, and Glass. You'll find some great new opportunities like:
Introduction to Welding: Using Found Objects
Introduction to Welding: Thinking 3-D
Building Freak Bikes
Jewelry Fabrication: The Basics
Casting: Jewelry and other Small Objects
Rubber Mold and Plastic Sculpture
Courses fill fast, so be sure to visit our website to register soon.
We can't wait to see you in the studio!
Community Activists: Rising from the Ashes February 1, 2011
Thanks to the vision of two young developers, a former industrial complex now stands as a model for neighborhood revival.
By Kristi Cameron
Posted January 17, 2011
Few places have a greater industrial legacy than Providence, Rhode Island. A succession of textile, jewelry, and metal fabricators made the city prosperous in the 18th and 19th centuries, but their subsequent decline left behind some 250 vacant mills, not to mention a hole in the economy. The working-class Valley and Olneyville neighborhoods on the banks of the Woonasquatucket River are full of these buildings, and it’s here that a nonprofit artists’-colony-cum-trade-school called the Steel Yard has forged a development model that’s not only deeply rooted in the city’s manufacturing past but fosters the creative community Providence is placing its bets on today.
The Steel Yard consists of two modest clusters of brick-and-aluminum buildings that frame a large patchwork of grassy and paved grounds. Though it just had its ribbon cut-ting last September, nothing about the site looks new or polished. That’s partially due to circumstance—the completion of a major landscape-remediation effort has, for the moment, drained the organization—and partially by design: the site is meant to host get-your-hands-dirty industrial-arts classes and large-scale fabrication projects. In short, the Steel Yard is not your typical factory-to-condo conversion.
“I’ve been very critical of developers who maxed out these older mill sites, where every inch is somehow built on,” says Drake Patten, the executive director of the Steel Yard. “What I’ve learned in doing this project is that there’s a reason for that. It’s impossible to clean up these sites with-out spending an extraordinary amount of money. If the Steel Yard founders had done a business plan, this place couldn’t have happened.”
Instead of a business plan, the founders—Clay Rockefeller, a 32-year-old Brown graduate and the great-great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, and Nick Bauta, a 34-year-old RISD graduate and the grandson of the Canadian food magnate W. Garfield Weston—started in 2001 with some big ideas and enough money to acquire the $1.4 million, three-acre Providence Steel & Iron complex at 27 Sims Avenue. “We wanted to approach the question of what to do with a historically industrial property in light of the changes to the area,” Rockefeller says. “I was particularly interested in what the next successful model for industry would look like, and if it could be sustainable in a scaled-down way that focused on local markets.”
Two events influenced them. The previous summer Rockefeller spent a day volunteering at the Crucible, a beloved institution in Oakland, California, that offers affordable classes in and studio space for the industrial arts. “Something there clicked for me,” he says. “I became hyperaware of the importance of being part of a healthy ecosystem. I’d valued community my entire life, but I hadn’t given much thought to how to cultivate it. This was the first time I began to aggressively explore the role of physical space as it pertains to community.” The idea of creating a collaborative environment where people could support one another in the act of making things took root.
Back in Providence that fall, a controversy erupted over plans to replace Eagle Square, a collection of 14 mill buildings in Olneyville that were home to an influential underground art and music scene (members of the band Lightning Bolt were early residents), with a shopping center. People stormed a city-hall hearing to fight both the destruction of the mills and their own displacement. At the time, Mayor Buddy Cianci was experiencing a backlash against the city’s much lauded efforts to rejuvenate downtown, an effort that had, since 1976, rid the core of the train tracks that once isolated the statehouse, relocated the confluence of the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck Rivers, and uncovered the paved-over Providence River. But it was all accomplished, people began to feel, at the expense of outlying neighborhoods.
The hearing resulted in a modification to the development plans, leaving some of the old buildings intact. But more important, it catalyzed Providence into rethinking the value of its industrial architecture. In short order, the mills qualified for landmark designation, historic-preservation tax credits, and zoning exemptions that allowed for residential conversions. Eager to ensure that some of the buildings remained accessible to artists, Rockefeller partnered with three Valley residents to convert the nearby Armington & Sims Engine Company building into artists’ live-work spaces, now called Monohasset Mill. But even before the project was finished, he realized the work was so expensive that he couldn’t offer as much affordable space to the creative community that he had hoped to. So later in 2001, when he and Bauta—both metal sculptors—learned that the Providence Steel & Iron property next door was for sale, they jumped at the chance to buy it. “We had a perfect reason to save it,” Bauta says. “It’s a beautiful example of a working industrial site. And it’s right in the heart of the area that has always been full of artists.”
They established a private foundation and began to offer welding space, using existing equipment and Bauta’s own tools. After plugging along as a ragtag band of artists and fabricators, Bauta and Rockefeller brought on Patten in 2005 to help the organization “grow up.” With a modest $400,000 annual operating budget (collected through a combination of revenue raised on-site and philanthropic grants), Patten oversaw the development of youth programs and classes in ceramics, glass, jewelry, blacksmithing, and welding.
One of the Steel Yard’s most financially successful initiatives is the Public Projects program, which has landed 90 contracts to make street furniture, including five separate jobs for the Providence Downtown Improvement District. “I put a bid for trash receptacles out to five companies, and the Steel Yard won in a competitive process,” says Frank LaTorre, PDID’s director for public space. “I was happy about that. Why contract to a huge company in Minnesota when we have a nonprofit down the street?”
The Public Projects program pays folks like Tim Ferland, who learned to fabricate and weld at the Steel Yard, to pro-duce the furniture. “I was a bar-back when a friend introduced me to the Steel Yard,” says Ferland, who has since parlayed his newfound skills into a career and his own business, Metal Tooth Fabrication. “If it wasn’t for them, I definitely wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today.”
Despite such successes, the Steel Yard faced one major hurdle to moving forward: it was sitting on a contaminated site that would cost $1.2 million to clean up. “We could receive no bank loans, no major capital-improvement foundations would even talk to us, and our insurance was deadly expensive,” Patten says. They did have one thing going for them: being a nonprofit allowed the Steel Yard to secure a total of $600,000 worth of Environmental Protection Agency brownfield-redevelopment funds in 2007, costs a commercial developer would have had to assume and recoup through sales. It was enough to get the ball rolling, but it took two years to get the necessary permits, due to a perceived conflict in the plan, developed by Klopfer Martin Design Group, which proposed naturally filtering storm water while keeping the toxic soil on-site (a choice that was cheaper and more philosophically acceptable to the group than dumping it in someone else’s backyard).
Patten fought for their vision, navigating the sometimes competing concerns of the Rhode Island EPA, the Department of Environmental Management, the Coastal Resources Management Council, and the Narragansett Bay Commission. Last fall, after nine months of construction, KMDG finally delivered a landscape flexible enough to accommodate every-thing from public gatherings to a large delivery of steel while preserving the untamed culture of the Steel Yard. “Everyone was afraid that the place would change,” says Kaki Martin, a principal of KMDG. “We worked hard to make sure there was room for that spontaneous, wild urban character to return.”
No longer “rusty and sharp,” as Rockefeller describes the property’s original state, the Steel Yard is primed to draw more visitors. But Patten still needs to raise the million-plus dollars necessary to update and weatherize the buildings. Fortunately, the Steel Yard team has come to embrace a slow-growth approach to development. “The end product that we have collectively created is better because it has taken us so long,” Rockefeller says. “It has allowed us to respond to the ways people interact with us rather than air-dropping this thing in.”
There are still an estimated 90 underused or vacant mills in the city. The Steel Yard approach certainly isn’t the most profitable model for developing them—only now, after ten years, have the partners come close to recouping their initial investment. What they have done, however, has resulted in rich rewards for the local community and the city as a whole. Artists now have a stable place to work that “has relieved some anxiety about where they’ll end up next,” says David Cicilline, the former mayor who was elected to Congress last November. The Steel Yard has also paved the way for other noncommercial programs, including the Paul Cuffee Maritime charter school, which inhabits an old bus-depot maintenance facility down the street.
Most important, the Steel Yard has helped change the way Providence, which rebranded itself the Creative Capital in 2009, sees development. “Having the people at the Steel Yard debate with us and present options for building off the arts community has forced us to think differently about who we are as a city,” says Thomas Deller, who heads Providence’s planning department. “It’s making us consider how we can use this example to do other things.” Cicilline goes further: “We embedded lessons from the Steel Yard in the city’s comprehensive plan, so it will have an impact on the process for a long time.”
Read the original article here.
Pumpkin Launch Dates August 25, 2010
Check out upcoming events for the Heritage Resoration trebuchet!
Iron Chef 2010 August 11, 2010
Saturday September 25th, 12:00pm - 5:00PM
Teams of artists and fabricators compete in our 3rd annual head-to-head sculpture competition. After the main event, stick around for the sculpture auction where you'll have a chance to big on your favorite piece! Food and refreshments will be available by local food vendors.
12:00 PM - Join us in celebrating our recently completed environmental cleanup at our official ribbon cutting ceremony!
1:00 - 5:00 - Iron Chef
Check out some pictures from last year's competition: Iron Chef Flickr
Cruise Night 2010 Video July 21, 2010
Check out Rob Houllahans's super 8 video from last week's Cruise Night. Thanks Rob!
Clay-Doh June 18th June 10, 2010
Get ready for the next Works in Progress fundraising event - Clay-Doh - at the Steel Yard. Clay-Doh is your chance to experiment and play with clay in a fun and casual atmosphere. Work created during the event is not fired, but gets reused by our classes and ceramic cooperative members.
Clay-Doh is a great way to spend an evening doing something a little out of the ordinary. Invite your significant other for a memorable date (think Ghost) or forget the baby-sitter for the night and bring the whole family down where there's something for everyone. With plenty of ways to get your hands dirty, drinks for kids and adults, good music and great conversation, Clay-Doh is fun for kids and adults alike!
Available for purchase at the bowl sale will be ceramic bowls, cups and more created by our own cooperative residents. On top of that, your admission helps support Steel Yard programming.
June 18th, 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
27 Sims Avenue (north end of the studio, in the ceramics department)
Beverages - Snacks - Music - Clay!
$20 for Adults, $10 for kids 10 and under
Tickets available at the door
June 18th, 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Clay-Doh / June 18th
Cruise Night June 9, 2010
Mercantile Block - Sneak Preview This Weekend June 2, 2010
AS220's new live studios at the Mercantile Block in downtown Providence are expected to be ready this October. Get a sneak peek this weekend from 1 - 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday.
Full scoop here: http://www.as220.org/about/the-mercantile-block.html
Clay Doh - May 14th! May 11, 2010
Clay-Doh - May 14thRound up your family and get ready for the first Works in Progress fundraising event of 2010 ... Clay-Doh! Have you ever wanted to try your luck at throwing a ceramic pot, or maybe, let your kids experiment with hand forming clay - somewhere other than in your living room? Clay-Doh is here to help!
With plenty of ways to get your hands dirty, drinks for kids and adults, good music and great conversation, Clay-Doh is fun for the whole family. Available for purchase at the bowl sale will be ceramic bowls, cups and more created by our own cooperative residents. On top of that, your admission helps support Steel Yard programming.
We hope to see you in the studio this May!
May 14th, 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
27 Sims Avenue (north end of the studio, in the ceramics department)
Beverages - Snacks - Music - Clay!
$20 for Adults, $10 for kids 10 and under
Tickets available at the door
Looks Like A Bad Sign May 1, 2010
A benefit in support of the Steel Yard
May 1st, 2010, 7 PM - 12 AM
1 Sims AvenueFood - Drinks - Bands
$10 (free admission to the gallery)
Tickets available at the door
Music: Villainer (formerly the Hollows) & Deleted Arrows
Artists: Becky Ilsley, Shawn Gilhenney, Tom West, Greg Penniston, Enamel Kingdom, Brian Dowling, Stephen Holding, Susan Dansereau, Nathan Nadeau, Howie Sneider, Christina Sciullo
Sponsors: 1 Sims, Hot Club, Julians, Narragansett Beer
Snacks by Robot Treats Baking Co
Looks Like A Bad Sign
Registration is now open for our Spring/Summer course season! February 12, 2010
We cannot wait for our studio to start humming with creative activity this season--it’s time to get our torches, forges, and kilns fired up!
Check out our courses page for the full lineup of offerings in Welding, Ceramics, Blacksmithing, Jewelry, and Glass. In addition to our regular introductory courses you’ll find some great new opportunities like:
• Building Bike Trailers
• Stained Glass
• Glass Casting
• Making Jewelry: Becoming a Small Business
Courses fill fast, so be sure to register soon.
We hope to see you in the studio!
Holiday Craft Sale December 15, 2009
Our Ceramics and Jewelry Cooperatives put together a holiday craft show at White Electric this Sunday!
Check it out for handmade ceramic goods and jewelry from Steel Yard artists and instructors.
December 20th, 5pm - 9pm
White Electric, 711 Westminster Street
Ceramics Cooperative Member Search! December 9, 2009
The Steel Yard is currently seeking applications for our Ceramics Cooperative. The Ceramics Cooperative is designed to assist emerging to mid-level artists in growing and strengthening their creative practice in a supportive, cooperative environment. We encourage artists to work together, learn from each other and collaborate in the development of a strong Steel Yard ceramics department.
To find out more information, click here.
Download the application here: Ceramics Cooperative Contract 2010 (doc)
Iron Pour 2009 October 7, 2009
Watch the Iron Guild fire up their furnaces for the 4th annual molten metal spectacular. Also for sale will be ceramic goods made by Steel Yard ceramic artists.
Friday October 30th
Doors at 6 PM
Performance begins at 7 PM
$7 to enter
Rain Date: Saturday October 31st
Want to help out? Contact .
Call for Entries - Architectural Ceramics September 22, 2009
Artists working in the ceramics medium are invited to submit works for inclusion in Architectural Ceramics, an exhibit that will run from November 5th, through December 2nd, 2009. The exhibition explores works which relate to interior space which may include decorative elements incorporated into buildings or created as site-specific free-standing sculptures. Large to small scale installations works will also be considered. National Deadline: October 10th, 2009
Juried Selection process with guest juror: Stephen Oliver, architecture/furniture design. Founding artist of Affinity Arts in Maine.
Entry Fees: $12 for 1st entry, $20 for 2nd, $25 for 3rd. Prized will be awarded.
Submit completed entry form (download on website www.mudstonestudios.com), artist statement & resume, required images and installation requirements, to: or Mail to Ellen Blomgren, Mudstone Studios, 30 Cutler St. box #8, Warren, RI 028855
E-mail with jpeg attachments.
* In the Subject, put “Artist Submission”
* In the Body of the e-mail include the following info:
+ Web Address if you have one
+ Contact Information (name, email address, phone, etc.)
+ Title, size, medium, year, and other pertinent info about the work sent.
+ A brief description of your art, and short bio.
* File attachment requirements:
+ JPEG files only. Images should be no larger than 3 MB each.
Artwork delivery/return and installation
- Gallery Specs:17' x 24' plus 10 1/2' x 10 1/2' - 10' height
- Mudstone reserves the right to reject any work that significantly differs from the entry images/proposals.
- Shipped work must be sent in a reusable container with pre-paid return shipping. Work will be returned in same manner as delivered, via UPS or USPS.
- Accepted works will remain on display for the duration of the exhibition, November 5th - December 2nd.
- All unaccepted work must be picked up by October 20th
Sale of work
- Mudstone Gallery will retain a 30% commission of the listed sale price.
- October 10th, 2009: final entry submission deadline
- October 28th - November 1st 2009: delivery of accepted work
- November 5th - November 29th: Architectural Ceramics exhibition dates
- November 5th: Architectural Ceramics Opening 7:00 -9:00 pm
- December 2nd: artwork picked up
Gallery contact info:
Mudstone Studios & Gallery
30 Cutler St
Warren, RI 02885
Iron Chef & Steel Yard BBQ September 16, 2009
Works in Progress - Iron Chef & BBQ
Teams of artists and fabricators compete in our 2nd annual head-to-head sculpture competition. Enjoy grilled goodies and stick around for the Iron Chef sculpture auction. Also for sale will be ceramic goods made by Steel Yard ceramic artists.
Saturday September 12th from 1pm - 5pm
$20 for adults, $10 for kids 10 and under
Interested in helping out? Contact
Rain Date: Saturday September 19th, 1 pm - 5pm
Cruise Night 2009 September 1, 2009
Works in Progress - Cruise Night 2009
Our 4th Annual classic car, custom, and bicycle show. Bring the whole family for an evening of polished chrome, music, refreshments, raffle prizes and studio tours. Music by Johnny "The Colonel" Maguire.
Free to the public!
Rain Date: September 10th, from 5PM - Dark
Intersted in helping out? Contact
Arts Day July 21, 2009
Elisa from the 21st Community Learning Center writes to ask for artist participation in this year's Arts Day:
Arts Day is a morning where artists from various mediums work with a group of up to 10 to 12 students for about in 1.5 hrs. Students are able to learn about the artist's educational background, current and past work experiences, and create a demo of the artist's current work. In the past years they have invited dancers, painters, jewelry designers, and story tellers. Students truly enjoy the hands on learning and showcases their work towards the end of the morning.
There is no compensation for the artist's time, but will reimburse for supplies relating to the demonstration.
If any of you artists out there are interested in sharing your work with some eager young minds and making a lasting difference please contact Elisa at
Currently Accepting Jewelry Cooperative Applications June 23, 2009
Jewelers at work
Are you interested in becoming more involved with our jewelry studio or gaining 24 hour access to our facilities? We are currently looking for cooperative members and a program coordinator.
Read more here.
Camp Metalhead Applications Due Monday! June 10, 2009
Interested in art? Want to learn how to make things out of metal? Come to the Steel Yard! Camp Metalhead is a FREE two-week long intensive introduction to creative metal fabrication from July 20th to 31st, 2009. You will learn about the history and profession of metalworking in Providence and beyond. Each morning, you get a behind-the-scenes experience at a local manufacturing business or artist’s studio. The rest of the day is spent learning how to weld! You will learn the basics of shop safety and various metal fabrication techniques including MIG welding and oxyacetylene torch cutting. At the end of the program, you will design and fabricate a piece of functional public art to be installed in the community.
To attend Camp Metalhead, you must be between the ages of 14 and 18. You can be male or female, and you do not have to be currently in school. Enrollment is limited. Preference is given to those living in Providence and from local public schools. You do not need to have any related experience!
Download more information here: Camp Metalhead Brochure 2009 (pdf)
Download the complete application here: Camp Metalhead Application 2009 (pdf)
Steel Yard VISTA search! May 6, 2009
The Steel Yard is looking for our next full-time Americorps VISTA to join our team!
Apply Before May 29th!
Start Date: August 27th
The Steel Yard is looking for a VISTA who will assist with the organization's programming, outreach, and resource development. Specifically, the VISTA will work with staff members to increase outreach to local schools and youth partners, increase our volunteer capacity, and research both grant and workforce development opportunities. Duties will also include managing course registrations and assisting with Steel Yard public programs. We are looking for someone with a strong interest in the intersection of arts and community development and a desire to learn more about the inner workings of a nonprofit organization. An ability to speak Spanish is helpful but not required.
Living Allowance, Health Coverage, Training, and a choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend.
Applications Due by May 29th!
See the full description of service and apply through Americorps on-line.
For more information, e-mail us at
New Site Launch! May 1, 2009
It's May 1st, and the new Steel Yard site is officially on-line!
For all of our sweet new features, check out the info page.
Something broken? Oops! Tell me about it: .