Today Governor Lincoln Chafee unveiled a new initiative to beautify Rhode Island Interstate gateways by announcing a newly-installed mural on the southern abutment of the Wampanoag Overpass bridge on I-195 in East Providence, Rhode Island. The mural, depicting sailboats in a Narragansett Bay waterscape, was designed by renowned local artist Anthony Russo. The image was selected by the Governor.
"This is another step in beautifying Rhode Island's urban Interstate gateways," said Governor Chafee. "We are proud of our maritime traditions, and this mural celebrates the return of the America's Cup competition after a 30-year hiatus. Images such as this one make Rhode Island a better place to live, work, and visit."
"This highway beautification program has the potential to strengthen tourism and promote economic development, while also improving the aesthetic character of our State's urban highways," said Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis. "We are pleased that we can help create another beautiful spot in Rhode Island."
The installation, which included substantial surface repairs to the bridge surface, was performed by contractor E.F. O'Donnell & Sons of Providence and their subcontractor, muralist Johan Bjurman of Johnston. The project qualified for an 80 percent federal match. Russo received a $2,500 honorarium which was donated by BankRI, Fidelity Investments, and the Rhode Island Commodores.
Future highway enhancements including murals, landscaping, signage and additional graffiti abatement efforts are being jointly planned by the Governor and RIDOT.
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4009