El Museo del Barrio | Rhode Island

La Broa’ | El Corazón de Providence

Broad Street, also known by some locals as La Broa’, is the heart of South Providence. Since the 1950s, the neighborhood has served as the center of Hispanic activism, commerce, and cultural expression in the City of Providence. It is representative of significant social movements that reflect the history of Latinos in Providence — from the establishment of Fefa’s Market in the early 1960s to the designated birth place of the Latino Political Movements of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Museo del Barrio project is a Latino museum without walls and it entails bringing to life public spaces and empty lots with Latino-infused performance art (latin percussion, dance, teatro); creating three sidewalk murals along the Broad Street; and offering community-led Barrio Tours. It is so called because it brings people together to relive its history, listen to stories, and to create and enjoy public art that reflects this busy Latino neighborhood.
We respect and acknowledge the fear by its residents that projects like ours will wipe out (or White out) neighborhoods like South Providence. There has been great interest by City officials to bring change to Broad Street, and we encourage local advocates and officials to pursue policies that encourage investment while promoting the ability of existing residents to stay and benefit from revitalization.

We also respect that Broad Street is made up of a mosaic of people and cultures that include those from the Continent of Africa, Southeast Asia, and diverse South American and Caribbean countries. Additionally, we are aware of and celebrate the history of the Jewish, Irish, Scottish, and African-American communities that made Broad Street what it is today.

Who is leading this project?

Our goal with El Museo del Barrio is to highlight local Latino artists, those who were born, raised and are life-long residents of the Broad Street neighborhood. We hope it creates discussion to bring some kind of balance where newcomers enrich neighborhoods like Broad Street, while long-time residents speak up and fight to maintain the area’s culture.
René Gómez, a mural artist will create a sidewalk mural in front of El Ninja Latin Fusion Restaurant, located at 1700 Broad Street. (2021)

Tamara Díaz,
a local artist and muralist worked with René in 2020 to create a sidewalk mural in front of Carolina's Family Restaurant, located on the corner of Oxford and Broad Streets. (2020)

Alberto Genao, will create a video trailer (3-5 minutes) depicting life of people and businesses on Broad Street, with a focus on the emergence of Dominican-owned food trucks Chimi Trucks. Kufa Castro will work alongside Alberto collecting stories (spoken word/poetry) that would be used in the video. (2021-2022)

Candelaria Danicher is Outreach Coordinator and will stay connected with businesses owners and residents of the Broad Street neighborhood to ensure the success of the project.

The Barrio Tours is an initiative led by Marta V. Martínez, RILA’s ED and Community Oral Historian. The bilingual tours will take visitors to Broad Street to experience community art projects, as well as the authentic food, music, festivals and rich cultural history of often overlooked in this Latino-urban neighborhood. (2017-ongoing)

El Museo del Barrio | 2021 • Barrio Tours & Broad Street Walk of Fame

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On July 25 & 26, 2020 RILA artist-in-residence, Rene Gómez and students from the 360 High School in Providence will create a mural on the sidewalk in front of El Ninja Latin Infusion Restaurant, a popular eatery on Broad Street. They will transform this section of the neighborhood into the Broad Street Walk of Fame.

More here

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On Sunday, August 1, 2021, Marta V. Martínez will be joined by Doña Fefa Rosario (portrayed by a local actress) to lead participants on a Barrio Tour of Broad Street. Together they will talk about the transformation of La Broa' since the 1960s. Doña Fefa and her husband Tony, opened the first Dominican-owned bodega on Broad Street in Providence in the early-1960s.

More here

El Museo del Barrio | 2020 • Sidewalk Mural Art

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On Sunday, August 2, 2020 a group of Rhode Island residents joined Rhode Island Latino Arts and artist, Tamara Díaz at an all-day community painting day. The sidewalk in front of Carolina's Family Restaurant, a popular eatery on Broad Street, was transformed to this beautifully-colored piece of art.

More here

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On the Ontario Street side of Broad Street, Pop Artists Rene Gómez and Jason Hernández, with help from Spray Paint Artist, Pablo Youngs, created street art using images of COVID-19 with messages to passersby on how to stay safe and healthy.

More here

This project is made possible with support in part by these funders:
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