Valley Talks Continues with a Talk on Providence Artist Edward Mitchell Bannister


(WOONSOCKET, R.I.) – Valley Talks, a series of biweekly historical lectures, continues Sunday, Feb. 4 at 1:30 p.m. at the Museum of Work & Culture.


Rhode Island Historical Society Executive Director Dr. C. Morgan Grefe and artist Gage Prentiss will present Making Art History. In September 2023, more than 120 years after his passing, Providence honored gifted artist Edward Mitchell Bannister with a public statue. Grefe will explore Bannister’s history and legacy, followed by Prentiss, who will detail his inspiration and process in creating this tribute.


Admission to the Valley Talk is free, but registration is required. Guests can register online at


Prentiss is a visual artist living and working in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He has a BFA in Sculpture from Boston University (1999). His sculptures conjure a sense of presence, story, and wonder. Loosely representational and figurative, he has worked in welded steel, resin, concrete, and bronze. Gage’s oil paintings sway from the Barbizon to the Impressionist. Presence of place is most important. Landscapes, liminal nature, architecture, and light finding its way through shadow. Gage works primarily through private commissions, but has begun to explore public art. 


Grefe is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Society. She has been at the RIHS since 2005, serving as the Director of the Goff Center for Education and Public Programs for the first 6.5 of those years. In the summer of 2011, she took the helm of the RIHS. Her work as a historian focuses on U.S. social, cultural and public history, with special attention on Rhode Island.  She holds a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown and a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in the same. Grefe’s publications include, “ ‘Jews, Turks, and Infidels:’ How Rhode Island’s Lively Experiment Helped Chart the American Way,” “Sourcing a Rhode Island Legend: The Story of Kady Brownell,” and “The World in One Square Mile: Central Falls,” a historically-inspired children’s book. She lectures widely on topics relating to Rhode Island’s social and cultural history. She and her husband, artist Gage Prentiss, make their home in Pawtucket with their three magnificent cats. 


Other Valley Talks will include:

February 18: Civil War reenactors Denise and Paul Bourget discuss the research and dedication of living history performers, particularly when returning to one of the country’s most difficult periods.

March 3: Historian Pierre Lavoie takes a fresh look at how early 20th-century Francophone celebrities helped shape the collective identities of Francophones in Quebec and New England.


The Museum’s 2024 Valley Talks series is presented by Amica Insurance, with additional support from the Museum of Work & Culture Preservation Foundation and the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.