The Collaborative Changes Locations, but Keeps its Community-Centered Approach

The Warren arts collective serves locals and members through unique programming


Fall is a busy time of year at The Collaborative, a unique arts org in Warren serving the East Bay’s creative community. A recent move from their original gallery on Main Street to 4 Market Street now means sharing space with arc{hive} book + snackery, a used bookstore and dining concept co-owned by The Collaborative’s Uriah Donnelly, who has served as executive director since its inception.

“The mission of The Collaborative is to provide access to opportunities for creatives and the community to exhibit, experience, and learn through the arts,” says program coordinator Gaby Cantu. The non-profit art space has a dual focus: artist members and the community. For the latter, they provide monthly arts programming to those who might not be able to devote themselves to a full-time studio practice. “We do figure drawing, creative writing, and there are also opportunities for folks to do collage or poetry,” adds Cantu.

Their artist members “are a group of about 10 artists who have their work exhibited in the gallery, and many of these folks teach workshops for us,” explains Cantu. “We’ve been running a series since June called Assets for Arts, which involves tools and skills for artists to have a more sustainable art practice. We offer classes like Instagram for Artists, and finance workshops. This month, we are offering mental health training with a licensed mental health professional. He teaches artists to look out for signs of poor mental health, how to create a community around each other, and to be there as a support network of peers and colleagues.”

The Collaborative also serves area youth, hosting a monthly exhibition showcasing one or two young artists. “We usually take a commission – 30 percent for work sold at the galleries for artist members – but we waive that for youth artists who show their work at the gallery,” explains Cantu. “It’s a really important opportunity for youth across Rhode Island to become more familiar with what it looks like to install your work, to collect several pieces that fit together, and to do an artist bio.” The Collaborative also hosts an Art Academy every spring for young creatives, giving homeschooled students a chance to take a range of classes, from printmaking to filmmaking, in a real studio setting.

Warren residents and the town’s burgeoning arts and dining scene have shown support for the arts space, which gets locals and out-of-towners alike excited to bring ideas to the space. “We’ve really leaned into opportunities to be collaborative, working with other local arts organizations, locating sponsors, and offering space to community partners,” says Cantu. “With a team of only four part-time workers, I’m in awe of what my partners are able to accomplish.”

The Collaborative also sponsors local music including the popular annual Warren Folks Festival, which took place last month, and Folk at the Farm, a free one-day concert at Frerichs Farm on October 1. This year’s event features nationally acclaimed folk/roots singer-songwriter Jake Blount, The Vox Hunters, and the Atwater-Donnelly Band.Learn more at



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