Brown Arts


Brown Arts’ new multi-year series of creative activations, interventions, and investigations produced by communities across Brown, Providence, the Rhode Island region, and beyond.

About the IGNITE Series

Launched with the opening of The Lindemann Performing Arts Center in October 2023, the IGNITE Series showcases a diverse array of offerings from across our Brown Arts ecosystem, including projects by students, student groups, faculty and departments, Brown alumni, Brown Arts Institute collaborations with other campus units and Artistic Innovators, as well as projects by local and regional artists and arts organizations.

“ A platform for catharsis, creative incubation, and exploration of the human experience. ”

Avery Willis Hoffman Artistic Director, Brown Arts Institute (BAI)

Projects & Collaborations

Learn about upcoming residencies, projects, and events

Interdisciplinary and collaborative programs created by members of the Brown community
Interdisciplinary and collaborative programs created by community members in Providence and beyond

From the Desk of the Artistic Director

February, 2024

On this wintry morning in Providence, I write from a place of privilege and honor to share the impactful work our creative communities are developing for the inaugural Brown Arts IGNITE Series, launched in association with the opening of The Lindemann Performing Arts Center in October 2023. As we collectively work to actualize the promise of this extraordinary new building, we devote 2024 to uplifting and celebrating our vibrant artistic ecosystem. 

Each IGNITE project, in its own way, seeks to encourage deeper explorations into difficult topics, showcasing the depth and breadth of creative thinking across many disciplines at Brown and beyond. You will find that projects vary in scope and scale, presented in The Lindemann, Granoff, Arts Department venues, as well as other venues across campus and in Rhode Island. Brown Arts Institute’s larger scale projects highlight the fruitful ways in which graduates and undergraduates, faculty, staff, and departments interface with, learn from, and collaborate with visiting artists, especially those striving to push disciplinary boundaries in innovative ways. IGNITE projects proposed through an Open Call process embrace the prompt to join with others to offer a nuanced lens through which we might collectively better understand ourselves and our world. IGNITE’s evolving collaborations with local artists and arts organizations through our PVD+ proposals demonstrate our commitment, as communicated by University leadership, to productive engagement and partnership in our surrounding communities.  

In the coming months, I invite you to explore this richly layered  IGNITE Series which spotlights a multitude of formats: performances, screenings, conferences, lectures, panels, conversations, workshops, multimedia installations, exhibitions. Projects highlight topics that include how to activate arts-based learning, the power of storytelling and memory, music as reparations, the history of light and architecture, art and activism, poetry and farming, gender norms in South Africa, and so much more. 

On this website you can explore IGNITE projects shepherded by Brown’s Arts Departments, as well as projects that took place in Fall ‘23 and early Spring ‘24 , including an ArtsLiteracy gathering, screenings curated by graduate students who form the transdisciplinary Racial Ecologies Collective, and Carrie Mae Weems: Varying Shades of Brown, a campus-wide activation launched by the BAI. 

Join us in thinking how art might open up space for dialogue and for change as we tackle the key issues of our times, to expand your horizons about what art is or what art can be through these extraordinary projects and stay tuned for project details as they emerge.

Last, but by no means least, I wanted to extend my deep gratitude to all of the Brown Arts Institute staff who have tirelessly supported these artistic projects over the last few years starting in the incubation phase, through development, and out into our public spaces. Thank you BAI!

Wishing you the best for a successful and productive spring,

Avery Willis Hoffman
Inaugural Artistic Director, Brown Arts Institute
Professor of the Practice of Arts & Classics

Avery Willis Hoffman Headshot

Nearly a decade ago, on the 250th anniversary of its founding, Brown developed a strategic plan in which “Cultivating Creative Expression” was identified as an institutional priority. Since that time, considerable progress has been made to establish the arts as both a key academic pillar at Brown and a national model of integrative, interdisciplinary teaching, scholarship, and practice. In Fall 2023, the Brown community will celebrate yet another remarkable milestone for the arts: the opening of The Lindemann Performing Arts Center.

In the spirit of collaboration, Brown celebrates the opening of The Lindemann not as a single event, but as a multi-year series of activations, interventions, and investigations produced by creative communities across Brown and beyond. The Brown Arts IGNITE Series - launching in October 2023 (aligned with the public opening of The Lindemann) and running through December 2024 - will demonstrate to national, and indeed global, audiences the high ambitions, creative curiosity, and dedication to meaningful social impact that Brown University is able to express through this extraordinary new arts venue.

To this end, the Brown Arts IGNITE Series proposes that art, artists, and artistic projects, along with arts-based research, can brilliantly lead the next phase of community-wide thinking around key integrative themes “important to society, now and in the future.”

  • Affirm, celebrate, and promote the value of the arts and arts research in higher education, at Brown, and in our broader society
  • Demonstrate the myriad ways in which the artistic projects, and arts-based research, can be impactful tools to highlight societal challenges, advance community priorities, and influence positive outcomes for participants and non-participants alike
  • Showcase the artistic work of Brown faculty, students, staff, and alumni through innovative programs, events, and curricula that make full use of The Lindemann’s capabilities
  • Support a collective of distinguished artistic innovators eager to use The Lindemann, in collaboration with BAI, as a unique canvas for commissioned and curated performances, installations, and activations that address some of society’s most pressing concerns
  • Measure social impact through direct and meaningful engagement with Providence and Rhode Island arts communities, as well as national and international arts communities

“Art is not simply entertainment. It is a catalyst for creativity, discovery, and innovation that helps us better understand the world around us.”

Christina Paxson President