“Every time I have been invited in to New Urban Arts (it always feels like I’m being welcomed, even if I just wander in), I’m struck by the energy of the place, by how much is happening around me. On some level, there’s an implicit understanding here that learning can happen equally in conversations, play, making together, mentoring, improvisation; it’s somewhat planned & unpredictable at the same time. My kind of place. I’ve been fortunate to be in the company of members of this learning community many times… always with this lingering (both daunting & exciting) idea that I’d like to be more of this place, that, while I liked, sometimes, simply looking through its windows from the perspective of the observer… I also wanted in in a fuller way…”
Rick Benjamin, poet laureate of the State of Rhode Island, is a community artist who currently practices art-making & learning at Brown University (Environmental Studies & Public Humanities), RISD (Literary Arts), Goddard College (in their MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts), and in many other learning communities in & around Providence (among them elementary, middle, & high schools and assisted living centers). While his primary medium is poetry, he is also interested & has been engaged with collaborative installations, performance pieces, print-making & language designing & glass-blowing, among other things. His first book, Passing Love, was published in 2010 by Wolf Ridge Press in San Francisco, & his next, Floating World, is forthcoming in 2013. He is generally determined to stretch the boundaries of what it means to be human & to explore inquiry & encounters into the non-human, sentient world as well.