The Dirt Palace was founded in 2000 in an abandoned library building at 12-14 Olneyville Square. Over the past 13 years the Dirt Palace has served as an incubator for a vast array of women artists, and has become an underground institution. Although it is now a cornerstone of the Providence arts community, this undertaking was originally born from the need for a radically new context in which women could live and work rigorously immersed in their creative lives.
There are currently 7 members of the Dirt Palace that work in a variety of media, including printmaking, audio and performance art, film/video, sculpture, photography, bookbinding and restoration, quilt making, lace making, writing, puppetry & painting. Each member has their own private studio, as well as access to a shared printmaking facility, film/animation studio, wood shop, office/shipping room, textile studio, band rehearsal space & a grand ballroom for large scale projects.
The Dirt Palace supports women artists by providing affordable studio space,, facilities, shared resources, opportunities, and a culture of cooperation. We maintain visibility in the community through a committed public arts presence and long term relationships. We are continuously building and improving our facilities and structure in order to actualize our ideas. Members work together to create an environment conducive to challenging thoughts and radical actions in order to cultivate our personal growth as individuals, and to foster the development of strong, thoughtful, independent women who use their creative awareness of the world to change it.
Dirt Palace members co-curate the "Dirt Palace Storefront Window Gallery" - a rotating public art exhibit housed in the building's first floor storefront window space. Since its inception in 2000, the Dirt Palace Storefront Window Gallery has exhibited the work of local, national, and international artists, community groups, and youth arts programing on a monthly basis in Olneyville Square.
Staying true to the original intent of the building, S.S.C.O.W.L. (Shivering Shelves Collection of Weirdness Library) resides on the second floor of the Dirt Palace. S.S.C.O.W.L. houses an extensive collection of rare and independently published comics and zines as well as antique, arcane and unusual books, periodicals and videos on a wide variety of subjects. The stacks are available for perusing during the small readings and film screenings that happen there in the frosty (Shivering Shelves) and humid (Sweltering Shelves) months.