About 2018-08-12T17:34:15-04:00

Behind Every Door is a Story

Inspiring wonder, curiosity and pride in our communities by connecting the public to the great places of our state

DID YOU KNOW that the largest collection of fresco paintings in North America is located in Woonsocket, or that there is a 250 sf replica of Angkor Wat outside of a Buddhist temple in Cranston? Have you visited the oldest penny arcade in the country, located on a secluded beach in Burrillville? It’s all here in Rhode Island.

In partnership with cultural and community organizations across the state, Doors Open RI is providing behind-the-scenes access to Rhode Island’s best-kept secrets through an online publication (coming soon!), programs and tours planned throughout the year. It will all culminate in a FREE annual open house festival that will pilot in Providence on September 23, 2017.

“I walk by the First Unitarian Church all the time, but have never really thought much about it. Now I can’t help but smile as I pass by, remembering how great the view was from the top of the bell tower! I feel like I’m really seeing the building for the first time. What a great opportunity to go into a space that I never would have otherwise.”
Alyssa Anderson, Providence Resident

First Unitarian Church of Providence. Photo by Nadav Assor


Doors Open RI will open the doors to Rhode Island’s famous and forgotten places, whether hidden under our noses or soaring above our heads. By providing new perspectives on our cities we aim to:

1. Connect Communities

Behind every door is a community of people. By opening our doors we can forge new connections between Rhode Island’s diverse populations.

2. Foster Belonging and Local Pride 

Welcoming the public inside our great places and spaces and learning their stories, fosters a sense of belonging and pride in where we live.

3. Create Advocates for our Built Environment

When we step inside a place and learn its story, we become more connected to it and to the environment it is a part of. We care more.

4. Inspire new Ambassadors

By experiencing the hidden gems of our cities, Rhode Island residents are transformed into ambassadors for the state, building local tourism and growing our economy. 

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza

“We’re such a small place, but we have so much to offer, and the more we open our doors and invite people in and make them feel welcome, the more they’ll fall in love with what Providence is. And I think that shared experience of having explored Providence and having found something that you fall in love with . . . brings people together in ways that it’s very hard for other things to do.”


Caroline Stevens

Program Director

Caroline explores ways of bringing the architecture and vibrant history of cities to life for others by opening doors to buildings and telling the stories of neighborhoods.

Nadav Assor

Advisory Board

Artist and Asst. Professor at Connecticut College. Nadav’s work studies the implications of technological mediation with an interest in mapping architectural and social landscapes.

Morgan Devlin

Advisory Board

Morgan is a nonprofit communications professional who advocates for historic places as the physical expression of the character of our communities. She enjoys exploring RI’s hidden places.

Nikilesh Eswarapu

Advisory Board
Nikilesh is a strategy consultant of telecom, media and tech, and aspires to connect emerging markets to the Internet. He once ran a healthcare nonprofit, and is into preservation & photography.

Francesca Gallo

Program Coordinator

Francesca studies the intersection of community engagement, sustainability, and urban planning at Brown University. She also dabbles in processed-centered dance performance and choreography.

Jane Kim


Jane is an aspiring writer and traveler studying literary arts at Brown. She loves to explore art and architecture in different cultures. 

Steven Lubar

Advisory Board

Steven Lubar is a professor of American studies at Brown, interested in things and places and their histories.


Caroline Mailloux

Advisory Board

Explorer playing at the intersections of organization development, storytelling, human-centered organizations, system building, and design.

Frank Mullin

Advisory Board

Frank, a native of RI, has an undying love for Providence and the state as a whole, has something to do with the Ocean State BBQ & Oyster Festivals, and is a pro at the RI “Where the ____ used to be” game.

Christian Scully

Advisory Board, Photographer

Architectural photographer and founder of Design Imaging Studios specializing in capturing the built environment throughout the country.

Jim Seymour

Advisory Board

Jim actively supports the development of women-led social enterprises in RI through mentoring + coaching. He is on the board of SEG + has 40 years of experience in investments in emerging markets.

Kate Vander Wiede

Editor, Advisory Board

Kate loves biking, writing and traveling the world! Kate grew up in Florida, went to college out West and has been in Providence for the last 6 years. She’s just starting to unlock the secrets of this city.

Jenny Young

Advisory Board

Jenny is a lover of history & the artifacts of stories left behind.  She is deeply immersed in Providence’s creative community, & manages booking for downtown music & events venue, Aurora.

May Zhang


May has an entrepreneurial spirit and studies business economics at Brown University. She enjoys traveling across cultures and communicating with people from different communities.

Sarah Zurier

Advisory Board

Sarah Zurier is a historian, preservationist, and lifelong Rhode Islander who explores and interprets the built environment.