Embrace, Stainless Steel, Bronze, 70' h x 20' w x 20' d, 2007
The Plant, Providence, RI
Embrace was launched as The Smokestack Project with work beginning in February 2005. Puente, a non-profit organization, commissioned Gillian Christy to create an urban signifier for a neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island. A sixty-foot smokestack, ruined during a storm years ago, became the focus of her involvement in this revitalization effort.
With this piece of civic art Christy added a seven-foot bronze grid, sculpted as a pattern that suggests the form of the bricks that once stood recalling the height of the original smokestack. Visually connecting the old with the new, two stainless steel vines wrap around the stack signifying the positive growth found within the neighborhood. This monumental piece of civic art took 24 months to create, receiving donations from city organizations, private donors and grants. Most importantly, Christy was able to involve the neighborhood and local community by teaching welding classes at The Steelyard, where male and female students ages 15-45 years old participated in fabricating several of the leaves that adorn the stack.