Artist’s gift reminds students to put their best foot forward

at URI’s Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Nov. 16, 2000 — A monotype hangs on the wall, just off the elevator on the second floor of the University of Rhode Island’s Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education. “I’m thrilled that it’s visible,” says the artist, Riva Leviten, now in her 70s. “I really wanted to see it in a place where it could be looked at.” Leviten created the monotype during the early 1980s when she attended the Experimental Etching Studio in Boston. “I’ve always been experimental,” says Leviten who grew up in California but has been a Rhode Islander for the past 50 years. She lives on the East Side of Providence. “I love to invent.” Creating the monotype, a one of kind print, involved a process that used paper, plexiplate, ink and three blankets for pressure. The work is called “Best Bib and Tucker,” an English phrase that means putting one’s best foot forward. URI’s Feinstein College of Continuing Education serves older adults, people who have been away from school and who come back to either retool for a career or gain self-enlightenment. “I like that population. Adults going back to school and being brave enough to take that step,” says the artist who has shown her work at the College in the past and interacted with some of the students. She mentioned her desire to donate a piece of her work to Steven Pennell, artist-in-residence at URI-Feinstein CCE. “Talking with Riva is so inspiring, she is so intensely committed to using her work to have a positive and healing effect on others,” says Pennell. “I was thrilled when Riva offered to donate this particular piece to URI after participating in our exhibit “Women Creating” last April. I have felt that it was important to exhibit work in this environment, a public space to meet people where they are. “Many people come through here — the students and the general public – who have not been exposed to the arts. Riva understands the power of the arts to inform and inspire and instinctively she understood the greatness of its value in this institution with so many returning students. It is also exciting to see the children from the Child Development Center and students from the Met School who attend classes in this building being exposed to this work. They stop to discuss it, to explore it,” Pennell adds. “I think the work says ‘become what you want to become.’ The more we believe in something, the more likely we will manifest that experience,” says Leviten who lives in a tangerine house on Benefit St. For Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116