Art In the Atrium Presents an Invitational Exhibition with Works by 17 Artists and 17 Poets

Visit during First U’s Open Hours:  M-F, 9-5 & Sundays 9-1

Dates of Exhibition March 21 – May 4, 2024

Location One Benevolent St, Providence RI 02906

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 21, 5-7:30 PM – in coordination with Gallery Night Providence


Poetry Reading Thursday, April 11, 7-8 PM. Light refreshments will follow


About the Exhibition

Ekphrasis – Where Poetry and Art Meet is an invitational exhibit conceived by artist and poet Diana Cole, whose recent book of poetry “Between Selves” was published in 2023. Diana has poems published in numerous poetry journals and is editor for The Crosswinds Poetry Journal. She’s also a prolific stained-glass artist, photographer, member of the First U choir and member of Art in the Atrium First U program. Her website is


For this exhibition, Diana invited 17 poets to write poetry in response to artwork. Art in the Atrium curators, Karen Rand Anderson and Nancy Worthen invited 17 artists to submit up three pieces of artwork and one piece was selected. Ten of the 33 poets and artists are members of First U’s Congregation. The other poets and artists are from the Providence area.


Each poet was randomly assigned to a selected piece of artwork and given a month to compose a poem in response to the artwork. When assigning artwork to each poet, Diana explained that ekphrastic poetry was not a curatorial statement or what the artist might write about their own motivation.  She referred them to Mark Doty’s quote (below) and added “Whatever the image stirs in your own imagination and from your own life is valid.”

What is Ekphrasis?

Ekphrasis, then, is a process of seeing and saying what is there in a work of art, and also of seeing and naming what we put there, how we attach meaning to as much as find meaning in these beautiful gestures, and how we discover ourselves in them. In the process, it becomes clear that no artwork is exhausted by a poet’s work, and we’re never really finished exploring an image, which goes on generating new meanings. You can’t get to the bottom, because there isn’t one — the image goes on offering itself to the eager eye. 

—Mark Doty, poet, from Brisk Vacancies, An Introduction to Ekphrasis

Click on the thumbnails below to flip through the art gallery for this show!