RITIN and Polaris MEP team up with Slater Mill to re-open Seamless Work video and exhibition
(Pawtucket RI) Promoting a modern image of the textile sector in Rhode Island may seem like a perplexing effort, but it is part of the mission eagerly embraced by the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN).
Created by Senator Whitehouse and the URI Business Engagement Center to foster collaboration and develop solutions to elevate Rhode Island’s place in advanced textile manufacturing, RITIN, in partnership with Polaris MEP and Slater Mill, held an event last fall to reintroduce Rhode Island to a reinvented industry of advanced design, technology, and career opportunity.
Earlier in the year, Slater Mill debuted a contemporary video and exhibition entitled Seamless Work, with a similar intention.
The museum, for its part, has made a practice of educating visitors not only about the historic foundation of the textile industry in Pawtucket, but also about the present-day contributions local manufacturers are making to advance textile production worldwide.
Discovering that synergy of mission, Slater Mill and RITIN partnered, with the support of Polaris MEP, to announce the opening of a month-long re-installation of Seamless Work at Slater Mill this winter, hoping to cast an even wider net of awareness over RITIN’s network of manufacturers and their respective communities.
Opening on Wednesday, February 13 at 6 o’clock, the exhibition loops a 10-minute, three-channel video that explores the day to day operations of three textile manufactories in Pawtucket, using rhythm and music to propel briskly-paced images captured inside Neocorp, North East Knitting, and Colonial Mills.
“Like other partners in the city, Slater Mill aims to showcase today’s Pawtucket while also honoring the 18th and 19th century stories, said Lori Urso, executive director of Old Slater Mill Association. “We’ve found that contemporary art, and particularly, video, is an effective way to spark interest and engage people.”
According to Urso, the point of the Seamless Work exhibition is to “…pull back the large sliding steel doors on our manufacturing plants and see what’s inside,” something not typically afforded to non-employees.
“To attract viewers, however, you have to present something artistic and exciting, so we integrated the natural manufacturing plant footage with a rhythmic musical score and choreographed that to three separate videos that merge on a 24-foot wide screen,” Urso explains. “There is no language barrier, and everyone is able to connect through the sound.”
It’s the kind of approach that appealed to Polaris MEP program manager Mary Johnson.
“We identify this part of our role as changing the hearts and minds of people about the textile industry in Rhode Island,” said Johnson. “The program that Slater Mill created aligns well with this objective, so we are excited to be able to join forces and promote it.”
While this winter’s installation of Seamless Work is sponsored by the RITIN and Polaris MEP, it’s worth noting that funding for the original production was also rooted in the textile industry.
The Gordon and Marjorie Osborne Foundation-- its namesakes the late textile industrialist G. Gordon Osborne, former President of Warwick Mills, and his late wife, Marjorie-- provided the bulk of the support.
Mr. Osborne pioneered a wide range of diverse a textile applications and processes during his six decades in textile manufacturing. Mrs. Osborne was a student of seascape artist Jay Hall Connaway, and an avid collector of his paintings. She was a painter, and a designer of jewelry, silver, and clocks.
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the City of Pawtucket, the Rhode Island State Senate, and Stearns Charitable Trust, were also among the funding partners.
Seamless Work will open with a reception at the Old Slater Mill Association on Wednesday, February 13 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Gallery hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., from February 14 through March 16. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. The exhibition is suitable for all ages, and the second-floor gallery is accessible by wheel chair lift.
Slater Mill is located a 67 Roosevelt Avenue, in downtown Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Free parking is available in the lot next to the mill. For more information visit www.slatermill.org or call 401-725-8638 x.111.