The Steel Yard
The Steel Yard offers arts and technical training programs designed to increase opportunities for cultural and artistic expression, career-oriented training, and small business incubation. Our work is made possible through a combination of program-related earned income, private and government grants, corporate giving and individual philanthropy.
We are located at the historic Providence Steel and Iron site, along the Woonasquatucket River in the heart of Providence’s industrial Valley neighborhood. Our 10,000 square foot industrial shop includes:
Welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, ceramics, and glass fusing and slumping space
Studio Access Opportunities
Outdoor multi-use work and exhibition space
The Steel Yard’s programs cater to working artists, students, community members, tradespeople, arts educators and entrepreneurs.
The Steel Yard was founded in 2001 by Nick Bauta and Clay Rockefeller who purchased the former Providence Steel and Iron (PSI) complex in the conviction that the industrial site had not yet outlived its purpose. In collaboration with fellow artists and community members, Bauta and Rockefeller built a non-profit around the simple idea that by reconnecting people to how things are made and teaching them about process, endless possibilities open up. The founders and the earliest members of our community imagined a place that would serve as a sponsor and catalyst for innovative approaches to urban revitalization, arts promotion, workforce development, and community growth.
Our first major foray into programming began with the intention of furnishing local metalworkers with access to a well-equipped shop. We converted PSI’s ornamental shop into an industrial arts facility and education center. The facility and surrounding site now accommodates classes and projects in welding, blacksmithing, ceramics, jewelry, glass casting and the foundry arts.
Over the years, both the interior and exterior spaces have been used for the fabrication of products, the creation of works of art, open houses, workshops, demonstrations, exhibits, and performances. The input and assistance of the surrounding community has helped drive a grassroots evolution at the Steel Yard ensuring that its vision, curriculum, and facilities are unique and uniquely beneficial to the locality in which we work.
As the Steel Yard has grown, it has served as a point of exchange for individuals from a variety of social, professional, and economic sectors. The student learning to cast bronze, the auto specialist restoring an antique car, the artist hanging an installation, and the tradesman building slate roofs have worked side by side, encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration, mutual learning, and the creation of links between individual endeavors and their applications in wider society. Moving into the future, we will strive to fulfill our mission and serve our community by modeling our growth on the inclusiveness and interactivity that first enabled the Steel Yard to flourish.