Art Providence Holiday Show takes best of RISD and expands on it

Art Providence Holiday Show takes best of RISD and expands on it

PROVIDENCE – The Art Providence Holiday Show returns to the Rhode Island Convention Center this weekend, Dec. 8-9, featuring nearly 200 local and national artists.

Now in its second year, this premier art, craft and design show replaced the former RISD Alumni Holiday Sale, held for more than 20 years to support alumni artists by providing a coveted opportunity to sell their work.

Laura Burkett, a designer and maker herself with a line of leather bags and accessories, took over the show in March of 2017 under the umbrella of her marketing company, ArtSmart Productions. A former marketing professional in the corporate space, she said she was pleased to see the transition year make an impact, prompting her decision to return to downtown.

“I know firsthand how much artists appreciate a show that works, and we are off to a good start,” said Burkett, a Kentucky native who has lived in Rhode Island for nine years and established Laura Burkett Designs leather studio in Pawtucket two years ago. “The lineup of artists for this year's show represents tremendous talent and technical skill, all selected by our knowledgeable, experienced panel of jurors.“

The Art Providence Holiday Show welcomes back many RISD alumni as well as talented artists from all over New England and beyond to showcase work in ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass, metal, wood, painting, prints, furniture, leather, photography and more.

Following a successful 2017 show, Art Providence Holiday was honored with a Providence Ambassadors Award by GoProvidence and the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau (PWCVB) for continuing the legacy of RISD’s annual sale and driving business to the Ocean State.

Burkett, newly hired coordinator of the Broad Street Regeneration Initiative in Pawtucket, Cumberland and Central Falls, said one of the main differences with this show is that it's juried, with more participants than just those from RISD. Also a significant difference is that it runs over two days instead of just one, she said.

There are five or six new components this year, such as food sampling, live music and an affordable VIP package, she said. Three aspects making this event especially attractive are tax-free art purchases, free parking downtown on Sunday, and a requirement that artists be at the show and interacting with customers, said Burkett.

The goal is to create a “long-term kind of thing” here that's strategically different from many other shows focused only on crafts, she said, with an assortment of art, design and small-batch production creating a breadth of offerings. Art Providence Holiday features everything from the very high-end art to the $30 ceramic mug.

Jurors this year included Boris Bally, CEO Bally Humanufactured, LLC; Marthe Le Van, curator and owner, Mora Designer Jewelry; Beth McLaughlin, chief curator of exhibitions and collections at Fuller Craft Museum; and Anais Missakian, professor and head of textiles department at RISD.

“Our ultimate goal at Art Providence Holiday is to match the artist with the customer,” said Burkett.

Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The cash bar will open at noon and a local food favorites sampling (additional ticket required) will be open 1-4 p.m. each day. Live music, a gift-wrapping station and a children's corner with printmaking activities “promise plenty of holiday cheer while you shop.” General admission tickets are $8.50 per adult per day. Children 12 and under get in free. Local food favorites sampling tickets are an additional $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under per day.

Visitors must have a general admission ticket or VIP badge to purchase local food favorites tickets. VIP badges are $50 and include all-weekend access, a complimentary beverage from the cash bar, a complimentary food ticket, neck massage, free gift wrapping for two items, free canvass tote, and free coat and bag check.

For more information and to see a list of participating artists, visit .

This year’s Art Providence Holiday Show will be held this weekend, Dec. 8-9, and will feature about 200 local and national artists, including Mark Perry.
Mark Perry. For more information, visit