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Media Advisory: Governor Chafee, RIDOT Director Lewis, Pawtucket Mayor Grebien to tour new interstate highway mural installation

Governor Lincoln Chafee will be joined by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien on Friday, October 5, to tour the second of four murals being painted as part of the Governor's Gateway Beautification Program.

The tour will take place at 2 p.m. on Kid's Way in Pawtucket, near the intersection with Broadway. Artist Gretchen Dow Simpson will be available to discuss the piece, a portrait of the inside of a historic sawmill in support of U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar's proposal for a new National Park in the Blackstone Valley. Muralist Johan Bjurman also will be on hand to talk about how the mural is being painted on the 1,367-square-foot concrete retaining wall, which runs along the southern end of the Pawtucket S curves on I-95 and faces traffic traveling south.

"How we present ourselves through our gateways has an influence on Rhode Island's identity to the outside world," Governor Chafee said. "Beautiful gateways are important to tourism and economic development."

Governor Chafee initiated the beautification demonstration program with the goal of enhancing tourism and the State's reputation as a cultural heritage destination. Created by Rhode Island artists recognized nationally and internationally for their work, the murals are being placed on highway retaining walls and abutments along I-95 in Providence, Pawtucket and Hopkinton, and along I-195 in East Providence. It is believed that the only other states featuring murals within Interstate rights-of-way are California, Arizona and Utah.

The initial mural on the Wampanoag Trail overpass on I-195 – a summer sailing scene by North Providence native Anthony Russo – was installed in May and celebrates the return of America's Cup competition after an absence of 29 years. The two remaining murals, both by David Macaulay, a Rhode Island School of Design faculty member and author of the international bestseller "The Way Things Work," will be installed later this year.

A Massachusetts native, Gretchen Dow Simpson attended the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Newport Art Museum, and 58 of her paintings have been used as covers for The New Yorker. She focuses on the elegant and consistent forms of architecture and ordinary things.

Honorariums for each of the artists were donated by private sources, including Fidelity Investments, Bank RI and the Rhode Island Commodores.


Directions: Take I-95 North to Exit 29 (Cottage Street) and bear left off on the exit. Turn left onto Broadway and go straight through the light. Kid's Way will be directly in front of you, before the bridge.

Contact: Bryan Lucier 401-222-1362 x4012

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online:
  • Release date: 10-04-2012

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