Photo: Andrew Losowsky

Anne, who is in grad school at RISD studying community-based art education, grew up in Detroit. Ruth was born in Austria, while her dad was working in Eastern Europe, and is a double major in furniture and textile design at RISD. Right now, they are working on a classmate’s project. “We have to find locations using a GPS device, then switch locations, and the other team has to find where we mark on the device.”

Suzanne is studying biological science at URI. “I want to be a doctor. I’ve had several relatives and friends die of cancer, and I want to become a cancer research scientist, and understand how people are being treated for cancer. “I decided to do that maybe thirty years ago, but because I’ve always been poor, I didn’t think I had a chance. Five years ago, I thought I would try anyway. I have no idea when I’ll finish –I have to drop out from time to time, for financial reasons.”

Elsa is from Texas, and has lived downtown for about two years. She is an international hotel and tourism student at Johnson and Wales, and last spring she spent two months working in Switzerland as part of her course. She originally studied psychology, and “then decided to take my people skills in a different direction.” She bought her tights at American Apparel. “I love 
all things colorful.”

Johnell is studying criminal justice with the Comprehensive Community Action Program. “I want to work with young teens, be a probation officer, try to prevent them from getting in trouble.”

These children are aged three to five years old, and are on their way to Monument Park. Never heard of it? That’s because they have their own names for city landmarks – Monument Park is actually Memorial Park, just across the river. They are students at the Dr. Pat Feinstein Early Childhood Education Center at URI, at the corner of Union Street and Westminster Street. One of their teachers, Deb, says that the city is their classroom.  “A lot of parents want their child to be exposed to the diversity in the city.”

Vellachi is on her way to her studio at RISD. She’s a graduate student, studying textiles. “I came here from southern India, from Bangalore. “My options were UK and US, I chose here because culturally there’s more exposure to television and movies from the US in India. I’m not sure if I’ll stay afterwards. Textiles is a really important export economy in India, and it’s a lot more hands on. I’m happy for what I’ve learnt here, but that’s where the playing field is. I can go back and put what I’ve learned here to use.”

Beth “committed the ultimate sin – I never went to college after high school.” She’s now studying for a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Johnson and Wales part time. In her day job, she works in human resources, upstairs at the Bank of America building, down Westminster Street to your right. “In the summer, we have our windows open, and we listen to this one guy who always plays the sax down here.”

On the other side of Dorrance Street, where Tim Horton’s is now, was the original Providence location of Bryant, Stratton and Mason’s College of Business Administration, founded in 1863 to teach business skills to Civil War veterans. About ten years later, it transferred to a building further up Westminster Street, and then in 1916, it moved to where the Bank of America building now is. The College finally left Providence for Smithfield in 1971, where it is now known as Bryant University.

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