Rhode Island Latino Arts brings color, positivity during pandemic

Hispanic Heritage Month

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Latino Arts says they want to bring color and positivity to Broad Street during the pandemic.

The organization says they want to promote Broad Street as a destination. The artist herself explaining that she painted this mural to heal people during this difficult time.

The people here I thought needed an uplifting way to get through this pandemic. 

Marta Martinez, Exec. Dir. of R.I. Latino Arts

The sidewalk mural is on the corner of Broad and Oxford streets outside a popular Dominican restaurant.

Rhode Island Latino Arts Executive Director Marta Martinez says the street is the heart of Providence’s Latino community.

“That’s how I promote Broad Street, it’s el corazon de Providence,” Martinez said.

According to numbers released by the R.I. Department of Public Health, 59% of COVID-19 cases in the state are Hispanic and Latino residents.


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Martinez says it is affecting families, but also local businesses and artists.

“Businesses all over the state and country were suffering the most,” she said. “Visual artists were just locked up. Statistics that showed the Latino community was the most infected and has the higher number of infections really moved me to see if we could highlight this neighborhood.”

Visual artist Tamara Diaz used the sidewalk blocks to symbolize six foot distancing and also painted masks. She says the artwork has brought the community together while also spreading important messages.

“It really seems to brighten up the area,” Diaz said. “The community got involved. The Black Lives Matter of course movement is representing. We have some nice tropical palm trees for all the people in the community to remind us of our homelands, peace for everybody and the project turned out to be a success.”

Martinez says this artwork was such a success that they are planning on doing similar painted art on several other sidewalks down Broad Street.

Diaz says the paint should last on the street for several years.

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