The Rhode Island Historical Society, the state's oldest and only statewide historical organization, is dedicated to honoring, interpreting and sharing Rhode Island's past to enrich the present and inspire the future. Founded in 1822, the RIHS is an advocate for history as a means to develop empathy and 21st -century skills, using its historical materials and knowledge to explore topics of timeless relevance and public interest. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, it is dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible public programming and educational opportunities for all Rhode Islanders through its four sites: the John Brown House Museum, the Museum of Work & Culture, the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center and the Aldrich House.
Born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick in 1828, Edward Mitchell Bannister’s talent for drawing and painting was noted in his childhood, but it was not until he came to Providence in 1869 that he was able to work full time as a painter. His genius for his craft, his noted charm, and his prominent and successful wife, Christiana Carteaux Bannister, helped him quickly establish himself among the art elite in the city. In September of 2023, more than 120 years after his passing, the city has honored this gifted artist and noted philanthropist with a statue created by Gage Moquin Prentiss. In this talk we will hear briefly about the history and legacy of the Bannisters from RIHS Executive Director, Christiana Morgan Grefe, and then from artist Gage Prentiss who will detail his inspiration and process creating this tribute.
Gage M. Prentiss is a visual artist living and working in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He has a BFA in Sculpture from Boston University (1999). His sculptures conjure a sense of presence, story, and wonder. Loosely representational and figurative, he has worked in welded steel, resin, concrete, and bronze. Gage’s oil paintings sway from the Barbizon to the Impressionist. Presence of place is most important. Landscapes, liminal nature, architecture, and light finding its way through shadow. Gage works primarily through private commissions, but has begun to explore public art.
C. Morgan Grefe is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Society. She has been at the RIHS since 2005, serving as the Director of the Goff Center for Education and Public Programs for the first 6.5 of those years. In the summer of 2011, she took the helm of the RIHS. Her work as a historian focuses on U.S. social, cultural and public history, with special attention on Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown and a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in the same. Grefe’s publications include, “‘Jews, Turks, and Infidels:’ How Rhode Island’s Lively Experiment Helped Chart the American Way,” “Sourcing a Rhode Island Legend: The Story of Kady Brownell,” and “The World in One Square Mile: Central Falls,” a historically-inspired children’s book. She lectures widely on topics relating to Rhode Island’s social and cultural history. She and her husband, artist Gage Prentiss, make their home in Pawtucket with their three magnificent cats.
Valley Talks are presented by Amica Insurance with additional support from the Museum of Work and Culture Preservation Foundation and the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.
Date & Time
Sun, Feb 4, 2024 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM