March 28, 2020
Would a Galilee-like sign be better received?

COMMENTARY: Is art in the eye of the beholder?

Watchemoket Square entrance-way. Opinions vary.


The East Providence Waterfront is growing as a positive community discussion. The art of common sense discussion and mature suggestions are certainly welcomed by all who are interested. I'm excited as a city council member to take part in this revitalization process.

One area being planned is the "Gateway of East Providence's Waterfront District." This is the area at the bottom of Warren Avenue near the 133 Club, Comedy Connection, Black Duck Tavern, EP Yacht Club, Tockwotton, Live Nation concerts and other venues leading to the water's edge.

As William Fazioli, director of planning and economic development for East Providence writes; "Progress presses forward that will continue our goals to expand the City’s tax base, increase employment opportunities and providing new public access to Narragansett Bay."

How shall we indicate the "Gateway Entrance?" Currently a sculpture or structure is at the so-called "Gateway" which at the very least has raised much discussion. While many like it there are many who don't see the artistic value. Count me in as one who isn't fond of it. We're told it's a sailing ship type piece of art. It may or may not be finished. I find that most don't care for it. Just my opinion!

I don't begrudge the intent of the originators here, they have a point of view, so don't be offended! I would suggest a more traditional "Gateway look" however. The wheel doesn't have to be re-invented. Look at the beautiful signage used by the Port of Galilee (see photo above) which welcomes visitors to that seaside port. How about something like that? Just substitute the name Watchemoket and add a couple of flags or something unique. Maybe like a ship's wheel. The current spot and landscaping is fine and could stay as is. Just remove the pipes and add something like the Galilee sign.

Just my thought - not the view of this NewsMag or any city organization. Never too late to adapt as we move on with our waterfront development. How nice would this look if illuminated at night also!


PS: On January 15th, 2020, there was a very productive and large turnout at a public meeting to discuss and gain input in the development of Watchemoket Square, the EP Waterfront Gateway. Folks commented on everything from traffic, parking, waterfront cleanup, public access, the arts & entertainment, bike path and other mixed use of this heretofore neglected diamond in the rough. All is preliminary and all options are on the table. Thanks Mayor Bob DaSilva, Jim Moran, Bill Fazioli and other department directors for the work. Thanks Senator Val Lawson for attending. Thanks Waterfront Commission. Thanks Tockwotton for use of your theater facility.


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