Good News for Inner City Art

It will be good to see the Black Rep space on Westminster St. open again…

PROVIDENCE — A nonprofit arts group, led by well-known Rhode Island storyteller Len Cabral, plans to use the former Providence Black Repertory Company building at 276 Westminster St. for a café and performance space called the Westminster Roots Cafe.

Cabral is board chairman of Providence Inner City Arts, which will operate the café. Cabral said the organization will present theater, storytelling, music, dance, poetry and community workshops in the new space, which he hopes to open sometime in March.

Part of the group’s mission is to showcase diversity within the city, he said, and he hopes to team up with local arts groups, libraries and educators.

Cabral said Providence Inner City Arts is best known for presenting the Florentine Faire and other community arts events throughout the city in the ’70s and ’80s.

I’m an admirer of Len and his gifted family. I think I saw him at the very first Florentine Faire, in a vacant lot on Thayer St. He was dressed like he walked out of a Shakespeare play, and he was wearing a sword. We roasted potatoes over a fire in a 50-gallon drum. It was cold.

If there’s anyone who can create something from found objects and inspiration it’s Len. The former Westminster Mall is becoming the city center it tried to be twenty years ago. Good luck, Len and friends.

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