Welcome to Providence: Community Walking Tours

The best way to get to know any city is by walking its streets and meeting its people.

The Swearer Center for Public Service has organized a menu of tours on the first weekend of the academic year to introduce you to neighborhoods, community organizations, culture, politics and history of Providence. Many tours will emphasize the relationship between Brown and the community of Providence, showing the myriad ways in which the two have, and indeed still do, influence one another. 

Each tour will last approximately 90 minutes. Please sign up for a specific tour, since space is limited. 

How to Reserve Space

Sign up at the Swearer Center (25 George Street) or send an email to· walkingtours@brown.edu and indicate by letter your desired tour. 

  • Space is limited in each tour so you may not get your first choice. However, every effort will be made to fit you into your desired tour or one leaving within the same time block.
  • Walk-ins will be accepted; though people with a reservation will have priority.
  • Resident Counselors may reserve a block of 10 spaces without designating the names or participants. 
  • All tours will begin and end at the Swearer Center for Public Service, 25 George Street. Please arrive 10 minutes before departure time. Tours will run approximately 90 minutes
  • Please bring your Brown ID – some tours will include bus riding as well as walking.
  • In case of rain, call 863-3638 for status of the tours. 

Schedule

-- Saturday, September 6 --

TOUR #A – 10AM

Local Farms and Local Food - led by Molly Bledsoe and Hannah Mellion

Learn from staff at Farm Fresh RI about growing a local food system that values the environment, health and quality of life of RI farmers and eaters. Farm Fresh works to:

  • Preserve Rhode Island farmland and our agricultural and culinary knowledge
  • Build healthier communities
  • Increase access to fresher, tastier food
  • Improve impact of food production and distribution on our environment
  • Strengthen community-based businesses

Tour #B – 1PM

Encountering Nature in Providence - led by Scott Turner

Scott Turner is Director of Web Communications at Brown, and he also writes a weekly nature commentary for the Providence Journal. He is a former land manager, park ranger and science writer.

Tour #C – 1:30PM

Public Education and Reform Efforts in Providence – led by Keith Catone

Keith Catone coordinates research, policy, and capacity building support for community organizations and school districts engaged in the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s student-centered learning initiatives. His work also aims to strengthen ties among education organizing efforts in the New England region. Prior to joining the Institute, he was the project director for the Youth 4 Change Alliance in Providence, RI. He holds an AB in Public Policy from Brown University and EdM in School Leadership from Harvard University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Culture, Communities, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Tour #D – 2PM

Environmental Justice – led by Amelia Rose

Amelia Rose is director and lead organizer of the Environmental Justice League of RI an alliance of individuals and organizations working together to promote environmental justice in Rhode Island through advocacy, education, networking, organizing, and research.

Tour #E – 2:30PM

Fox Point & the Cape Verdean Community – led by Claire Andrade Watkins

Claire Andrade Watkins was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and is a professor in the Visual and Media Arts department at Emerson College. She is the director and producer of the documentary "Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican," which blends her personal history of growing up in a close-knit Cape-Verdean community with the 200-year history of Cape Verdeans in America.

-- Friday, September 12 --

Tour #F – 3:45PM

The Arts as a Catalyst for Social Change in Providence - led by Umberto (Bert) Crenca

Bert Crenca is the founder of AS220, a non-profit community arts center located at 115 Empire Street in Downtown Providence. AS220 maintains four dozen artist live/work studios, around a dozen individual work studios, four rotating exhibition spaces, a performance space, a black box theatre, a dance studio, a print shop, a community darkroom and digital photo lab, a high-tech fabrication lab, an organization-run bar and restaurant, a recording studio, and a youth program. Its mission is to provide a forum and home for the arts and the creative population of Rhode Island.

-- Saturday, September 13 --

Tour #G – 1PM

Homeless in Rhode Island – led by John Freitas and Barbara Kalil

John and Barbara are homeless advocates and founders and leaders of RI Homeless Advocacy Project and Nighttime Outreach.  They work closely with RI Coalition for the Homeless and the Brown student organization, HOPE (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere).

Tour #H – 1:30

Beyond the Walls –  led by John Prince

John Prince is an organizer with DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) working on the Beyond the Walls Campaign. This campaign unites people in prison with their family, friends, community members and former inmates on the outside. The goal is to work for systemic changes in the criminal justice system.  DARE works to build a powerful multi-ethnic and multi- racial base of members who can work together for solutions to community wide problems.