Bringing world-class public art to Providence

One doesn’t have to walk far from the Foundation’s front doors to see an example of what the Denby Family Fund for Public Art in Providence is helping to accomplish. The recently redesigned intersection of Exchange Terrace with Francis and West Exchange streets is the 20-foot high “Lotus,” by Jaehyo Lee, which is carved from Korean big-cone pine.

“The Lotus is a world-class piece of art,” explains Dr. Charles Denby, who established the family fund at the Foundation in 2013. Of this and other pieces the Fund has supported, he says, “I think people are just beginning to notice. We’ve done the lighting in Kennedy Plaza, gigantic murals by Natalia Rak and Etam Cru on Washington Street, and a large steel piece outside the Hasbro headquarters by my friend and local artist Peter Diepenbrock, among other works.”

The Denby Fund has partnered with the Providence nonprofit The Avenue Concept and its founder, Yarrow Thorne, to accomplish their shared goal “to transform the Providence cityscape into a vibrant, visual network that capitalizes on the strengths, talents, and diversity of its people.”

Dr. Denby notes, “I have a number of local artists who are waiting in the wings (to display their work). There are nearly endless opportunities for the kind of art that people can stroll up to and admire, that students can learn from, and that artists can use to market their works. The city could become an outdoor art gallery where people would be dazzled by the art. In the long-run, I think it would have an economic impact on the state. It has the potential to transform the city.”


One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


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