Sound Session downtown
Providence Inner City Arts Association (PICA) is back. The organization was incorporated as a not-for- proﬁt nearly 40 years ago by a socially committed group of artists, driven by the vision of making arts programming accessible to the diverse working communities in Providence. Now on Westminster Street, where it operates the Roots Café, PICA continues to advance its mission: to create a vibrant sense of place in the capital city where the arts, culture and entertainment of the ﬁnest quality will serve as the
basis to bring diverse people together, provoke thought, inspire hope, create broad community understanding in support of the artistic programming of PICA. Programming is as varied as its audiences, from jazz to blues, poetry to hip-hop, salsa to mambo, Bollywood to Korean karaoke.
In its early years, PICA operated as a totally volunteer-run group focused on events for the community. Many fondly recall events such as the Florentine Faire, produced when downtown was at its lowest ebb. Other events included “Jazz on a Sunday” and a free festival held in Roger Williams Park on weekday mornings so that inner-city schools could walk or bus their students to participate in the performing arts.
Today, PICA recognizes the high potential for the rebirth of the city’s downtown and it brings a level of energy and vision. Remaining committed to its founding principles it will continue to provide the same kind of arts and entertainment to the Providence of today. Also in the works are youth art education and entertainment collaborations with downtown and neighborhood organizations. Inspired by the success of Sound Session for the past six years, PICA has assumed ownership of the Sound Session brand, and will present this highlight of the summer — a weekend of great music and entertainment — July 8-10. The 2011 festival will offer a blend of national and homegrown talent, a veritable gumbo of music. A unique collaboration has been established between PICA and Lupo’s. The
City of Providence is sponsoring a special Sound Session stage at the Bank of America skating rink.
Programming for Sound Session reﬂects PICA’s commitment to the diversity of the city. The rapidly expanding Latino population within the state presents a great opportunity, of which the festival is taking advantage. PICA and Lupo’s is presenting the great Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Ache’ as the headliner. His multi-Grammy award-nominated group is one of the most sought after Latin jazz bands in the country. Another great star of the music world, Stephen Marley, will take Lupo’s stage with his superb sound. Son of the legendary artist Bob Marley, Steve has been blazing his own trail in the music world,
winning Grammys for his original sound, which combines reggae, hip-hop and R&B styles.
Sound Session will also offer an opportunity for local groups to take the stage at the Roots Café. Mr. Dynamite and his eight-member James Brown Review will perform rhythm and blues and, in conjunction with this performance, an important forum about the role of James Brown and the Civil Rights Movement will be presented. Homegrown DJs will spin at the site of Dancin’ in the Street on Westminster Street and a Sound Session “Jazz and Blues Jam” in the Roots Café will close the festival.
Additional events will include a drumming workshop for parents and their children conducted by Bobby Sanabria, Poetry in Public by Christopher Johnson and other exciting participatory programs, to be announced. Sound Session has drawn thousands from all over New England to downtown Providence during the quiet summer months. This year the plan is to use the new format as a springboard for PICA’s ﬁve-year plan to establish Sound Session as an important Northeast event. We are asking everyone to support this year’s Sound Session, and to come, enjoy, dance and keep this great festival alive for years to come. Join PICA as we continue our cultural, arts and educational programming throughout the year, and in helping us make our great city even greater.
Len Cabral is president of Providence Inner City Arts.
Taken from the Providence Journal ad written by Len Cabral