Fall Guide

Fall into the Arts

Appreciate Rhode Island's impressive arts scene

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Now that you don’t have quite so many barbecues on your social calendar, make some time for the arts. The seasons ramps up in September, and lasts all through the fall. From large-scale festivals to artist open studios tours, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Now in its 16th year, Pawtucket Arts Festival is a month-long celebration of the vibrant artistic community of the city. The festival kicks off with the opening of Grounded, a one-woman play about a pregnant Air Force pilot, at The Gamm Theatre. After that, the Taste of the Valley Blackstone River Party on September 5 at Slater Mill features local foods, brews and live music. The next day, Chinese Dragon Boats take over the river, and a Steampunk Soiree happens at Slater Mill. From there, enjoy celebrations of Pawtucket’s rich heritage all over the city, from Irish music performances to a showcase of Reflections of Africa. Performances of Blackstone River Song take stage at Mixed Magic Theatre. Rocktucket, an outdoor, day-long rock music festival at Machines with Magnets, is unmissable fun on September 20. During this time, the Slater Park Fall Festival and the Pawtucket Film Festival are both happening. There’s so much to see and do in Pawtucket this September you’re just going to have to check it out for yourself.

Head to Foster for concerts at the Woodland Meeting House. One Sunday a month, the 130 year old restaurant and gathering place hosts Blue Grass Jams. Held from 2-8pm, the sessions are open to listeners and musicians of all levels of talent. Woodland also hosts a big monthly event: in the summer months, they included a blues festival and country music fest. September’s event is BBQ Masters in the Woods, the RI State Barbecue Championship, on September 6-7. October 18 will be the restaurants German Festival. Stop by for musical fun for the whole family. 115 E Killingly Road, Foster. 647-3838.

Laugh your face off at the Providence Improv Fest, returning September 18-20. For three days, local and national improv comedy troupes will take over The Space at AS220 for laugh a minute action. Take in one night or all three: it’s the only kind of theatre where yelling at the players is encouraged. 95 Empire Street, Providence.

After you’ve spent the afternoon shopping in Tiverton Four Corners, end your day with a concert at the Meeting House. These monthly shows bring in renowned artists from all over the world. On October 17, classical guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto takes the state. Originally from Kyoto, Japan, Tsukamoto received a scholarship to attend Berklee in 2000 and has been touring the world since. On November 1, witness the genre-defying Asylum Quartet. Blending indie and world rock with classical, klezmer and modernism. The four classically-trained saxophonists met in college and became the first saxophonists to win the the Grand Prize in the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston. 3850 Main Road, Mudstone Studios during the Bristol Warren Art Night Tiverton. 624-6200.

Bring your favorite bookworm to the Lincoln School for the Rhode Island School of Children’s Books and Authors on October 18. The all-girls school in Providence hosts the festival annually to give kids an opportunity to meet authors and learn about their creative processes. This year’s authors include Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express, and many others. Each will give a talk about their work and answer questions to foster creativity in little minds. Food trucks will be serving up lunch, and books will be available to sign. 301 Butler Avenue, Providence. 331-9696.

From October 25-26, witness the creative process in a different way at the West Bay Open Studios Tour. On this weekend, visual artists in Warwick, East Greenwich, Exeter, North Kingstown and Saunderstown open their studios for tours, workshops, and the opportunity to discuss their work with accomplished and talented creatives. Artists include painter and printmaker Nancy Gaucher- Thomas, metal sculptor Kenn MacDonald, stained glass artist Lynn Martin, calligrapher Jane Parillo Rollins and many more. Download your brochure on the event website for this self-guided tour.

See how great work is made at the Artist Open Studios. On November 1, artists in Foster and Scituate open their doors to show the public their art, and show people just how it’s made. This year’s artists include stone carver Karin Sprague, ceramic artist Peter Neff, illustrator and painter Denise Melucci, painter James Watts Cooke, jewelry designer Tacey Luongo and poetry performer Kim Baker. This is the 14th year of Artist Open Studios.