Providence’s premier industrial arts center, the Steel Yard, has been introducing creative metalworking skills to area youth since 2006. Teenagers participating in Camp Metalhead opt to spend two weeks in a sweltering metal shop instead of basking in the sunshine at the beach. The campers learn to weld, cut, grind, and forge steel, and also take fieldtrips to artist studios, museums, as well as area businesses.
Since the first year of the camp, Mid City Steel has supported the program with steel for the Metalheads to learn, practice and fabricate sculptures. Also every year, Louis Gitlin takes Metalheads behind the scenes at Mid City’s expansive facility. Metalheads get the chance to view all aspects of the manufacturing side of steel, and even get to operate some of the machinery!
Participants enrolled in the Steel Yard’s seventh Camp Metalhead used their new metalworking skills to serve the community through public art. This year they honored Roger Williams’ ideals by fabricating a podium for the speaker’s corner at the Roger Williams National Memorial. Mid City Steel with in-kind steel donations for campers to practice and fabricate metal sculptures, supplied the materials that were used.
Camp Metalhead was made possible with the support of the City of Providence, Mid-City Steel, The National Parks Service and the Rotary Club of Rhode of Providence.
The Steel Yard is an industrial arts non-profit with a two-acre campus located at 27 Sims Avenue on Providence’s West Side. Its mission is focused on economic revitalization through creative means. With over 9,000 square feet of workshop and studio space, including a metalworking shop, ceramics studio, jewelry, and blacksmithing departments, the Steel Yard offers an array of exciting classes and workshops. Camp Metalhead is an example of one of these programs, which gives youths training in creative metalworking. Participants in Camp Metalhead learn to weld and fabricate metal, and work together to design and construct functional public art. For more information on how to get involved, please see www.thesteelyard.org