Statue of artist and abolitionist unveiled in Providence

Bannister Statue
The statue of Edward Mitchell Bannister at Market Square in Providence. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Providence Art Club unveiled a new statue of artist Edward Mitchell Bannister at Market Square on Sunday.

Bannister was a 19th-century African-American artist who was a prominent member of the Providence art community, one of the founders of the Providence Art Club, and a figure in the history of American landscape painting, according to the club.

He was also a member of the Boston abolition movement.

Bannister Community Art Project Co-Chair Jennifer Davis-Allison said that the statue’s unveiling comes after almost two-and-a-half years of work.

“It started with the passion of an artist,” Davis Allison said. “It became so much more.”

Gage Moquin Prentiss, the statue’s sculptor, said he went to the Providence Art Club with a passion for Bannister and so that more people would want to learn about him.

“[I wanted] to share not just the presence of Bannister but the legacy of Bannister with everyone I can,” he said.

The club said that the statue allows passerby to sit next to the sculpture, take pictures, and learn about Bannister’s life via a QR code.

Davis-Allison said that the unveiling was a culmination of other events, including a cocktail party earlier in the week and a lecture to be held after the unveiling.

The unveiling was meant to occur at the end of the PVDFest parade, which was postponed due to the rain.

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