Brown Arts Initiative

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events

  • All at Once / De Repente

    All at Once is a story of simultaneous becoming and unbecoming.

    During the pandemic, artist Jonathan Herrera Soto became disconnected with institutionalized patterns of art making. No more shows, no residencies, no permanency, no frameworks. He spent the majority of this past Spring and Summer unforgetting, and tapping into ceremonies of work and labor familiar to him outside of his art making. Through a ceremony of maintenance, he created his own “residency” within the endeavor of learning a visuality of repair. This project is an accumulation of this experience - a physical representation of learning to mend. The body of work consists of twenty-five visual studies constructed with found objects. The images and text on the wooden pallets are individually burned into the flesh of the wood using a hot knife, invoking the gesture of wounding inherit in Jonathan’s traditional practice as a printmaker.

    All at Once incorporates materials such as wooden molding for concrete pours, segments of discarded paneling, junk tires, weathered ductwork, tattered metal tension wire cables, discarded fencing, and Jonathan’s own summer work clothes. Invited by the Brown Arts Initiative, Jonathan also toured the Performing Arts Center construction site across the street to collect construction debris, materials rendered disposable after use. Within the ceremony of maintenance, there is a celebration of renewed life in the re-claiming of materials. These works represent the simultaneous disposability and necessity inherent in every object of maintenance. On their way to the landfill, the reclaimed materials used in this installation are briefly held together for this moment, as buildings are, as you and I are. Moving into another Summer, as our communities begin to shift into new patterns of relationship outside of the pandemic, Jonathan aims to hold onto what we have learned together thus far, for now.

    This project manifests on ancestral Narragansett land, and comes together with direct support from the Brown Arts Initiative, BAI Community Development Grant, Bemis Center for Creative Arts, Jerome Hill Foundation Fellowship, and the Creative Commerce Center located in Pawtucket, RI. 

    Jonathan Herrera Soto graduated with a BFA from the Minneapolis College in Art and Design in 2017. Recent solo exhibitions of Herrera Soto’s work include “In Between / Underneath” at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, “Querida Presencia” at the Duluth Art Institute, and “Entre Ríos y Montañas” at the Annex Gallery in Chicago. He has participated in numerous artist residencies, some of which include Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Yaddo, Kala Art Institute, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Highpoint Center for Printmaking. Herrera Soto is a recent recipient of the Jerome Hill Foundation Fellowship Grant, Brown University Artists Initiative Grant, Metro Regional Arts Council Next Step Grant, Santo Foundation Individual Artist Award, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and is a current 2021-2023 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow to support work towards an MFA in Painting/Printmaking at the Yale School of Art.

    Cohen Gallery is located in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at 154 Angell Street. Cohen Gallery is available to visitors to view through the west facing windows.

  • Earth, Sea, & Sky: Fish Skin Tanning Demonstration

    Join the Haffenreffer Museum for a summer mini-series celebrating Indigenous relationships to the realms of Earth, Sea, and Sky. Learn about contemporary Native farming practices, attend a fish skin tanning demonstration, and explore the night sky through Indigenous lenses.

    Part 1: Fish Skin Tanning Demonstration

    Join Leah Hopkins (Narragansett) as she demonstrates modern techniques for fish skin tanning. Learn about fishing traditions among Coastal Woodland Indigenous people, and watch live fish processing and leather making.

    Fish have long been part of the spring and summertime cycles of Indigenous subsistence on the East Coast of North America. Learn about traditional Indigenous methods of fishing and processing and watch a demonstration of modern techniques of fish processing, fish skin tanning, and leather making.

    Content Warning: Please note that this program includes the processing and skinning of a fish. No live animals will be harmed during this program. Email the Haffenreffer Museum if you have any questions.

    Supported by generous donors to Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum.


  • Join us for a Q&A with Split Britches co-founders Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw as they discuss their latest work, Last Gasp WFH. Moderated by BAI Artistic Director Avery Willis Hoffman. 

    Last Gasp WFH will be available to view through Eventive from July 6-8, 2021. 

    Additional Information:

    In the wake of canceled performances, Split Britches were keen to maintain momentum for their new live work Last Gaspwhile having to ‘work from home.’ Last Gasp WFH was developed in a site-specific Zoom format using their quarantine-home as a structural visual anchor. A house becomes a stage for the experience of sheltering in place, serving both as an intimate capsule of sequestered time and an apt reflection on the precarious nature of our bodies and the planet we call home. Last Gasp WFHis a series of verbal and physical essays with the underlying themes of climate change and age, playing with ideas of interdependence and care, permanence and impermanence, knowledge and experience, narcissism and echoes.

    Experimenting with new ways of making and finding joy in a pandemic Split Britches collaborated with lighting and video designer and editor Nao Nagai, sound designer and composer Vivian Stoll, and choreographer Morgan Thorson to create a new format for performance that could be shared from a time of quarantine. Playing with the fragility of technology, particularly the unpredictability of Zoom, the team found new avenues to the classic Split Britches aesthetic of broken down theatrical conventions, exposing the self on stage.


    Founded in New York in 1980 with Deb Margolin, Split Britches continues with the duo and solo work of Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw which spans satirical, gender-bending performance, methods for public engagement, videography, digital and print media, explorations of ageing and wellbeing, and iconic lesbian-feminist theatre. Split Britches’ collection of scripts, Split Britches Feminist Performance/Lesbian Practice, edited by Sue Ellen Case, won the 1997 Lambda Literary Award for Drama. In 2012, Split Britches was presented with the Edwin Booth Award by City University of New York in honor of their outstanding contribution to the New York City/American Theater and Performance Community. Lois and Peggy were named Senior Fellows by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance in 2014, an award given to scholars, artists and activists affiliated with the institute whose work illustrates the highest achievement in the field of performance and politics.

    Over the past 40 years Split Britches’ interconnected repertoire of performance and engagement work has rapidly expanded and projects have increasingly fed into the development of one another. Last Gaspis the result of research undertaken during the 2018-2019 Split Britches Call and Response Tour throughout the US and UK, a tour of the performances Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)and Retro(per)spectivewhich housed sustained conversation in connected engagement activities and platforms.

    LOIS WEAVER is an artist, activist and part time professor of Contemporary Performance at Queen Mary, University of London. She was co-founder of Spiderwoman Theater, Split Britches, WOW Café Theatre and Artistic Director of Gay Sweatshop in London. Lois is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and a Wellcome Trust Engaging Science Fellow for 2016-19. She was awarded the WOW Women in Creative Industries Award for Fighting the Good Fight in 2018. Her experiments in performance as a means of public engagement include the Long Table, the Porch Sitting, the Situation Room, the Care Café and her facilitating persona, Tammy WhyNot. Tammy collaborated with senior centers in NYC on What Tammy Needs To Know About Getting Old and Having Sexwhich premiered at La MaMa ETC, NYC in November 2014.

    PEGGY SHAW is a performer, writer, producer and teacher of writing and performance. She co-founded Split Britches and WOW Café Theatre in NYC. She is a veteran of Hot Peaches and Spiderwoman. She is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2014 recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award. In 2017, Peggy was awarded an honorary doctorate from Queen Mary University of London for her contribution to theatre and the institution. Peggy has received three NYFA Fellowships and three OBIE Awards. She was the recipient of the 1995 Anderson Foundation Stonewall Award and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Theatre Performer of the Year Award in 2005. Her book A Menopausal Gentleman, edited by Jill Dolan and published by Michigan Press, won the 2012 Lambda Literary Award for LBGT Drama. Peggy was the 2011 recipient of the Ethyl Eichelberger Award for the creation of RUFF, a musical collaboration that explores her experiences of having a stroke.