Fort Thunder (1995–2001) was a warehouse on the second floor of a pre-Civil War former textile factory in the Olneyville district of Providence, Rhode Island. From 1995 through 2001, the space was used as a venue for underground music and events, as well as a living and working space for the artists.Fort Thunder was started by Mat Brinkman and Brian Chippendale, who were the space's original residents along with Rob Coggeshal and Freddy Jones. Fort Thunder was known for its colorful posters promoting shows posted on walls around Providence. At various times they hosted costumed wrestling and Halloween mazes. The group of artists who lived and worked there is also sometimes referred to as "Fort Thunder."
In 2000 it was announced that the mill building where Fort Thunder was located would be demolished.This led to protests and court challenges by both artists and historical preservationists. In 2002 the collective was forced to leave. The building was then demolished by Feldco developers to make way for the parking lot of a Shaw's grocery store and a Staples, both of which closed soon after opening. This has caused a debate about development and gentrification in Olneyville, the poorest neighborhood in Providence.
Since the closure of Fort Thunder, former residents and friends of Fort Thunder have received acclaim in many areas, particularly in the genres of noise rock, alternative comics, and contemporary art. Members of Forcefield, a collaborative project started at Fort Thunder,had their artwork included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. In 2006, the Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design exhibited Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the Present, an exhibition focusing on the underground art and music scene of Providence, with major reference to and inclusion of artists connected to Fort Thunder. The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities held an exhibition in 2019 featuring Fort Thunder concert posters, recordings of bands, and ephemera.
Lightning Bolt is an American noise rock duo from Providence, Rhode Island, composed of Brian Chippendale on drums and vocals and Brian Gibson on bass guitar. The band met and formed in 1994 as students of the Rhode Island School of Design. Lightning Bolt were listed 8th in Metacritic's Artists of the Decade 2000–09.
The Rhode Island School of Design is a private art and design school in Providence, Rhode Island. The school was founded as a coeducational institution in 1877 by Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf, who sought to increase the accessibility of design education to women. Today, RISD offers bachelor's and master's degree programs across 19 majors and enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum—which houses the school's art and design collections—is one of the largest college art museums in the United States.
Load Records was an American experimental music-oriented independent record label based out of Providence, Rhode Island. "Load Records might possibly be in possession of the world's most challenging record roster," writes Mark Hensch of Thrash Pit. "Rounded out by some of the most uncompromising noise/avant-garde/experimental artists in all of music's sordid underbelly, Load has always prided itself on remaining outside of common taste and maybe even common sense."
Olneyville is a neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island bordered by Atwells Avenue to the north, U.S. Route 6 to the south and Rhode Island Route 10 to the east. The Woonasquatucket River runs through the southern portion of the neighborhood. The area is roughly triangular.
Brian Chippendale is an American musician and artist, known as the drummer and vocalist for the experimental noise rock band Lightning Bolt and for his graphic art. Chippendale is based in Providence, Rhode Island.
Mat Brinkman is an American artist and electronic musician. Also known as Matt Brinkman, Meerk Puffy, Mystery Brinkman, Brinkman, Brinkmangler, and Mucid Cuspidor. He is based in Colorado.
Smith Hill is a neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island. Its traditional bounds are the Woonasquatucket River, the Chad Brown public housing complex, Interstate 95 and West River.
The North Burial Ground is a 110-acre (0.45 km2) cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island dating to 1700, the first public cemetery in Providence. It is located north of downtown Providence, bounded by North Main Street, Branch Avenue, the Moshassuck River, and Cemetery Street. Its main entrance is at the junction of Branch and North Main. The burial ground is one of the larger municipal cemeteries in Southern New England, and it accepts 220 to 225 burials per year.
AS220 is a non-profit community arts center located in Downtown, Providence, Rhode Island, United States. AS220 maintains four dozen artist live/work studios, around a dozen individual work studios, six rotating exhibition spaces, a main stage, a black box theater, a dance studio, a print shop, a community darkroom, a digital media lab, a fabrication lab, an organization-run bar and restaurant, a youth recording studio, and a youth program. AS220 is an unjuried and uncensored forum for the arts, open to all ages.
Manton is a residential neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island and part of Johnston, Rhode Island. It is in the westernmost part of the city. of Providence The town of North Providence borders it to the north, Johnston to the west, while the neighborhoods of Hartford, Olneyville, and Mount Pleasant border it inside Providence. Separating it from other Providence neighborhoods to its east are Rushmore Ave, Chalkstone Ave, Smith Street, and the Triggs Memorial Golf Course. The Woonasquatucket River separates it from Johnston to the west.
Meredith Stern is an artist, musician and DJ living in Providence, Rhode Island.
Peter Glantz is an American director of theater and film, notably the films Lightning Bolt - Power Of Salad and the music video DVD Pick A Winner, both released through the record label Load Records.
Mount Pleasant is a working-class residential neighborhood situated in the northwest of the city of Providence, Rhode Island. It is bordered by Olneyville to the south, Valley to the east, Manton to the west, and Elmhurst to the northeast, and the Town of North Providence to the north. The major street boundaries that define Mount Pleasant are Academy Avenue to the east, Smith Street to the northeast, Atwells Avenue to the south, and portions of Bullock, Chalkstone, Mera, and Rushmore Avenues to the west.
Jim Drain is an American mixed media artist. Drain often makes work collaboratively, first within the collective, Forcefield (1996–2002) and also with artists Elyse Allen, Ara Peterson, and Ben Russell, respectively.
Jungil Hong also known as Jung-li Hong is a Korean-American artist based in Providence, Rhode Island. She is best known for her psychedelic, cartoon-inspired silkscreen poster art and paintings. More recently she has expanded into textiles.
Xander Marro is an American artist, underground puppet maker, and arts non-profit director based in Providence, Rhode Island.
Pippi Anne Zornoza is an American interdisciplinary artist working in visual art, performance art, and music, and co-founder of the Providence-based artist collective Dirt Palace and Hive Archive.
Forcefield was an American noise band and art collective, founded in 1997 in Providence, Rhode Island, closely associated with Fort Thunder.
Franklin J. Sawtelle (1846–1911) was an American architect practicing in Providence, Rhode Island. He was known primarily as a designer of private residences.
The Wilbury Theatre Group is a nonprofit theatre located in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. It is known for its experimental theater and its annual fringe festival, FringePVD.