Brown Arts Institute

BAI Announces Spring 2020 Programming Highlights Presented at Brown University

Providence, RI…The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University, together with its member departments and programs, today announced highlights of its spring 2020 season of programming and events, featuring influential artists, musicians and performers across disciplines and mediums.

Prominent artists and presentations for the upcoming season include the following:

  • An interactive performance by dancer/choreographer Michelle Ellsworth;
  • A songwriting master class and performance by Rhode Island hip hop artist Chachi Carvalho;  
  • A multimedia performance by OBIE Award-winning theater artist Andrew Schneider; and
  • An exhibition about the career of skyscraper architect Raymond Hood (1881-1934).

The spring season also features two film festivals starting with the 21st edition of the French Film Festival (February 28‒March 5) showcasing screenings of dramas, comedies, documentaries and more. Direct from the Cineteca of Bologna, Italy, the annual Cinema Ritrovato Festival (March 11‒14) returns to Providence. Featured offerings include the US premiere of a rare silent film accompanied by live music; modern Italian classics by Brusati, Fellini and Ferreri; and an Egyptian masterpiece by Youssef Chahine. All films were restored at the Immagine Ritrovata Laboratories in Bologna. Both festivals take place in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts on the University’s campus.

Brown’s Rites and Reason Theatre, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, presents drama and conversation sparked by a global group of queer artists of color during the Black Lavender Experience 2020 (April 6‒11) at Churchill House, 155 Angell Street.

On March 13, the Department of Music hosts Residual Noise, a half-day conference examining contemporary sound practices and related research. The afternoon begins with two panel discussions at the Granoff Center, followed by demonstrations at the RISD Spatial Audio Studio, and concludes at Brown with an evening performance at the Granoff.

“Supporting art, especially in an educational environment such as Brown’s, is to support individual artists and artist collaborations—whatever they specifically say, do, or make. Through works of art, new communities of individuals are created, connected, expanded, and challenged. The arts hold space for the unexpected and never cease evolving to meet new questions and needs,” said Thalia Field, professor of Literary Arts and faculty director, Brown Arts Initiative.

Most programs take place at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts on Brown’s campus unless otherwise noted. While almost all are free and open to the public, some require advance registration or paid tickets. Because programs are subject to change, for more information or to register click here or go to

Highlights of the spring 2020 season include:

Michelle Ellsworth: In Performance
March 5, 7:00 pm

Michelle Ellsworth returns to Brown University for a one-night-only “performance-type-thing” as part of the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces (CRCI). She re-presents some of her award-winning works, including Post-Verbal Social Network and Phone Homer: Clytemnestra's Guide to Surveillance-Free Living, that combine science, technology, carpentry and dance. These pieces fold together mechanical apparatuses, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANS) and choreography to explore the limits of language in body to body encounters.

Chachi Carvalho: In Concert
BAI Songwriting Series

  • Workshop, March 6, 12:00 pm, free, open to the public as audience members
  • Performance, March 6, 7:00 pm, free to students, $10 Brown faculty and staff, $20 general public; tickets:

Rhode Island hip hop artist Chachi Carvalho and his band, The International Players, lead a songwriting master class and perform in concert as part of the BAI Songwriting Series. Carvalho’s music is inspired by his Cape Verdean heritage, his success as a first-generation student-turned-educator and his wide-ranging artists’ network here and abroad.

Raymond Hood and the American Skyscraper
April 4–May 24, David Winton Bell Gallery, 64 College Street
Opening Reception: April 10, 5:30 pm

The most prominent skyscraper architect of the 1920s, Pawtucket, RI native Raymond Hood (1881-1934) designed the Chicago Tribune Tower and, in New York City, the American Radiator, Daily News and McGraw Hill Buildings, in addition to Rockefeller Center. This exhibition of drawings, photographs, paintings and other documentation reveals his award-winning designs and his contributions to the evolution of skyscraper architecture.

April 16–18, 7:00 pm
Free to students, $10 Brown faculty and staff, $20 general public; tickets:

OBIE Award-winning creator and performer Andrew Schneider, a BAI professor of the practice, presents his rapid-fire, existential meditation, YOUARENOWHERE. Part physics lecture, part pop culture, part personal revelation, the artist dissects subjects ranging from quantum mechanics and parallel universes to missed connections and Alcoholics Anonymous recovery steps. Using an array of complex visual and aural effects to produce a shifting landscape of sensory overload, YOUARENOWHERE short-circuits preconceived notions of individual perspective and what it means to be here, now.

About Brown Arts Initiative

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University seeks to cultivate creative expression and foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from one another and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields across the campus and around the world. A consortium of six arts departments and two programs that encompass the performing, literary and visual arts, BAI works collaboratively to enhance curricular and co-curricular offerings, directly engage students with prominent artists working in all genres and media, and supports a diverse program of concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and symposia each year. BAI takes full advantage of the University’s Open Curriculum and builds on Brown’s reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory, practice and scholarship with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous artmaking and experimentation.

BAI comprises and integrates History of Art and Architecture; Literary Arts; Modern Culture and Media; Music; Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Visual Art; the David Winton Bell Gallery; and Rites and Reason Theatre/Africana Studies.