Monday, December 5, 2016

Making the Coming to RI Murals

One of the Museum's core values and defining features is the quality and beauty of its learning environments. Throughout its history, the Museum has made a strong commitment to art, commissioning or accepting donations of work from artists – many of them local – to include in exhibits and public spaces. To enrich visitors’ experience and inspire creative exploration, the new Coming to Rhode Island spaces incorporate the work of several outside artists.

The murals and historic figure in the new Fort Adams gallery were painted by Rhode Island artist Harley Bartlett, who is influenced by the late 19th and early 20th century American realist painters and whose work can also be seen in the Coming to Rhode Island Dominican gallery, Fefa’s Market.

Commissioned to depict the people, landscape and seascape at Fort Adams in the early 1800s, the murals extend many of the exhibit’s physical elements to show the Fort’s scale and surroundings. To create the murals, Harley…
  • Visited Fort Adams with the Museum’s exhibits team and Fort staff to select appropriate views to depict in his paintings. 
  • Blended photographs and historic images to create period appropriate concept drawings, and projected these images onto the walls of the Museum’s Fort to figure out scale and placement of objects. 
  • Painted the murals on large pieces of canvas in his studio in Cranston, RI.
  • Installed the murals onto the Museum’s walls, making adjustments and adding finishing touches once the murals were in place.

Projecting a concept image based on historic images onto the gallery's walls.
One of Harley's projected concept drawings, paired with the subsequent mural in progress.
Mural installation!

The murals add vibrancy and depth to the Fort and surrounding environment, helping to create an immersive space that inspires visitors' imaginative pretend play.

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