ArtVenture 2021

ArtVenture 2021 (May 8 – 23rd)

As you can see, ArtVenture 2021 was a lot of fun! Stay tuned for 2022!

Artventure combines the beauty of the natural world with art created by 20 local artists.  Art will be hidden on 8 NK trails from May 8-23.  Hikers may find art and they’ll be able to keep it! We will also have 3 interactive webs at the King/Benson Preserve, Calf Pasture Point,  and Academy Cove. This event is held in conjunction with ReDiscoverNK. We hope you’ll participate in this rewarding event!

The Trails:

1.) Bush Hill Nature Reserve, access on West Main St. by the Kitchen Outlet Store.  It is part of the Wickford Village walk.

Located up the dirt driveway between the Wickford Kitchen Factory Store (21 West Main St.) and The Mystic Scrimshanders (35 Brown St.)

You’ll see a Wickford Walk marker, “You should be facing “The People of the Small Point” marker with the salt marsh in front of you. Human settlement of the area we now call Wickford Village, began some 30,000 years ago during the post-ice age or Paleolithic period with Indigenous people living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. At some point in time as the climate warmed, the Narragansett people settled into a more permanent style of living in large semi-permanent coastal villages surrounded by extensive fields which they cleared for cultivation. Take a moment to read the details on the marker. “

Bush Hill was donated to the North Kingstown Land Conservancy in memory of Addie Lynch, by her son, Michael De Guzman. He wrote a book, “Strangers’, based on his relationship with his mother. It was later made into a movie starring Bette Davis. NK Library has a copy. You can view the movie on YouTube. He later wrote a book about John Huszer and his daughter, Mimi Huszer Fagnant’s (an ArtVenture artist,) summer spent on Cornelius Island.

You can find a great B&W photo of the pond at Bush Hill and the icehouse at Dave’s Wickford.
The NK Land Conservancy is installing a new bridge at the salt marsh. Soon, you will be able to walk from Bush Hill to Wilson Park and the bike path to the launch on Intrepid Drive. No more worries about parking in ‘downtown’ Wickford. Get your exercise, take an inspiring walk through Bush Hill, do some shopping and enjoy a ‘guilt free’ meal or beverage.

2.) Cornelius Island – across from the end of Pleasant St.  Boat access only.  Art will be hidden around the perimeter as there are plenty of deer ticks inland.

Cornelius, owned by Capt. Rollin Mason, was willed, undivided, equally to his 4 children. Howard Mason bought his sister’s ¼. Peachy Logan inherited this half and, upon her death, willed it to the Town of North Kingstown for Recreational purposes. 1/4 is now owned by the Sabo family and ¼ by Rollin Whyte’s family. Interestingly, for ArtVenture 2021, Deborah Sabo is an artist and committee member, Nancy Whyte Sherman is the organizer, and Mimi Huszer Fagnant, an AV artist, lived on the island with her father, John Huszer. John is credited with starting the Wickford Art Festival. Michael de Guzman, donator of the land at Bush Hill, wrote a book about Mimi and John’s summer on the island, ‘The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay.’ It was made into a Hallmark movie.

The View from Swamptown: The Story of the Island of Wickford Harbor
by Tim Cranston

Like so much of South County, the opening chapters of these islands begin with the inter-relationships between Richard Smith and his descendants, Roger Williams, and the Narragansett People. Indeed, the word the English settlers chose for much of the area they settled here in what would become North Kingstown was, Quidnessett; an anglicized version of a Narragansett word that means “place by the small island”. And that small island — we now call it Rabbit Island, may have been one of New England’s first gifts. A present of sorts, given to Roger William’s himself by the wife of Canonicus, the Chief Sachem of the Narragansett people during the first part of the 17th century.

It was Canonicus, who gave Williams shelter here in the “Narragansett Lands” after his banishment from Massachusetts. It was only by the grace of Canonicus, that Williams was allowed to live and thrive here, to restore himself to vigor and educate himself in their ways. The Narragansett people too, wished to learn from Williams, to examine the innovative technologies the English possessed, to find out for themselves why they were here and what they wanted. They marveled at some of William’s possessions and desired to establish trading posts in order to acquire them.

One thing Williams had though, confounded them, befuddled them; they didn’t quite know what to do with them— his goats. Now anyone who, like me has had some “up close and personal time” with goats knows that they are, although extremely adorable and endearing, single-minded in their pursuit of leafy green luncheon items.

Goats are determined, goats are patient, and sooner or later, somehow or another they will find a way to eat everything they can reach. With this in mind, way back in the 1630’s, the wife of Canonicus, a noble woman whose name is sadly lost to history, gave Roger Williams the little island we now call Rabbit Island with the caveat that he must keep his goats there so they might give up their relentless pursuit of her gardens.

As the English knew her as the Queen Sachem it was called Queen’s Island for many years, after a time it was known as Goat Island. In 1651, it was sold, along with his trading post, by Roger Williams to Richard Smith. Williams used the monies realized from this sale to finance a voyage to England to secure the Charter for his “Lively Experiment”, the Colony of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations. So in a small way, the Queen Sachem’s gift helped finance our State’s very future.

In the last century and a half or so, this little bit of real estate was called Babbitt’s Island, after a family that later owned the Smith Castle properties. Babbitt became Rabbit and time passed and everyone forgot the story of the island, the gift, and the goats — until now that is.

Now, Cornelius Island, an island that once was not, with a name still shrouded in mystery, has a different story to tell. It like the Queen Sachem’s Island was once part of the great plantation lands of Richard Smith and his kin. But at the time of Canonicus, Williams, and Smith, it did not even exist — as an island that is.

You see, the Fones Record of 1660, a survey of sorts of all the lands in this area, make no mention of any island beyond the eight acre Queen’s Island. Cornelius Island, a nineteen acre swatch of green now surrounded by the blue waters of the harbor, is not noted because it did not exist at that time, it was then the tip of a peninsula of land known as the Calf’s Pasture; grazing land for the Smith, then Updike, herds of dairy cows.

Sometime after 1660, but before 1802 when the next full land survey was accomplished, a channel was dug, perhaps by nature, or perhaps initially by man and then enlarged by nature, that created what was then called Cornelius’s Island. Centuries later we have no idea exactly when this happened, or precisely why (although as with Williams goats, it’s pretty easy to keep track of cows when they are confined to an island.) nor do we know the identity of the mysterious Cornelius.

3.) Calf Pasture Point and Bike Trails – Former site of the Seabee school for heavy equipment operators, now a de facto nature preserve with a long, wide beach on Narragansett Bay. Great walking and biking. Primary foot and bike access from parking lot at the end of Marine Road (off Davisville Road). Access by boat, with nearest launch site at Allen Harbor. The paved path is suitable for walkers, joggers, and bikers and offers remarkable views of the bay, marshes, and other wildlife scenes. Bike path has rest rooms. The shore terminus abuts Mount View neighborhood which is a limited residential parking district.

Park at 325 Marine Rd., Davisville.  Art will be hidden along the bike trails and around Calf Pasture Point.  The entire trail is 4 miles. The bike trail portion ~ 2miles is handicapped accessible.

4.) King Preserve – 2203 Boston Neck Road, Saunderstown. (Just north of Casey Farm)    This is a 3.2 m trail on Nature Conservancy property.  The site of a former Girl Scout camp, the 161-acre property has hiking trails and leads to a small beach by Narrow River. (The Benson Preserve also leads to this beach). We will have an interactive web at this site. Hikers are invited to add to the web or use the provided art materials to make their own art.  Journaling is also encouraged.   (parking is limited)

The King Preserve and Benson Property are adjoining wooded areas leading down to the Narrow River in Saunderstown. They are a relatively recent addition to our town open space, thanks to The Nature Conservancy and the Narrow River Land Trust. Parking and trail access is available from two points. One lot is off Rt. 1A, a bit north of Casey Farm, the other off Snuff Mill Rd. The trail features easy walking, lots of shade, a small waterfall, wetland, lovely old stone walls, and access to the Narrow River.

5.) Benson Preserve -This is Narrow River Land Trust property which abuts to the King Preserve. There is limited parking on Snuff Mill Road. It also leads to the beach on the Narrow River. It’s about a 1.7 m walk to the beach and back. (parking is limited)

6.) Academy Cove sits behind the North Kingstown Library and is nestled between Phillips and West Main Streets. It’s name is in reference to it’s location near Washington Academy that was founded in the early 1800’s and eventually became know as Wickford Elementary. Visit the Lyons’ Memorial Park in the back of the library where you you can sit on a comfortable bench while viewing lovely homes, yards and, perhaps an Egret or two on West Main and Elam Streets and the back of the Kayak Center on Brown Street. You can also kayak into the Cove by paddling under the bridge on Brown Street. While there, check out the rain garden and the information poster that accompanies it.

7.) Blue Beach –  This is a true gem at the southwest tip of Quonset!  There’s ample parking, porta-potties, and a walk down a treelined path leads you to a beach with beautiful views of the Jamestown Bridge and Narragansett Bay. Follow signs from Circuit Drive.

8.) Smith’s Castle

55 Richard Smith Drive. Founded by Richard Smith and Roger Williams, this Colonial trading post was a center of military activity during King Philips’s War. Historic 1678 home and furnishing, 18th Century herb and flower gardens, lovely setting on Wickford Cove. Call for hours and tour information 401 294-3521. There are some exceptional, short trails west of The Castle.  Art will be hidden on Saturdays and Sundays only.

Meet the Artists:

    1. Belanger, Roberta
    2. Bianchi, Ann E.
    3. Burda, Gail Shawn
    4. DeCesare, Scarlett
    5. DiMauro, Dennis
    6. Fagnant, Mimi Huszer
    7. Ferrazzoli, Deb
    8. Gebhart, Alice Benvie
    9. Gelfman, Celia
    10. Grandpre, Lynn
    11. Grabowski, Gerry
    12. Higham, Rachael
    13. Kennedy, Julie
    14. King, Linda
    15. Mazzone, Donna
    16. Pichette, Nicole
    17. Pitt, Pam
    18. Sabo, Deborah
    19. Silva, Bev
    20. Wyllie, Nancy