Located in the tunnel at Waterplace Park, the 9/11 Wall of Hope is a community-created tile mosaic comprised of over 10,000 to 12,000 tiles put in place by Rhode Island residents of all ages, races, religions, and cultures. The Wall of Hope was created after the events of September 11, 2001, and it stands as a tribute to the innocent lives lost, to the heroes who responded to the attacks with immense bravery, and the Providence community’s hope for the future.
Each tile was hand-painted by a Rhode Island resident, and, therefore, the tiles showcase individual emotion and thought regarding the 9/11 attacks. The nonprofit group Rhode Island for Community and Justice (RICJ) came up with the idea for the art project, and the Wall of Hope was dedicated in September 2002, a year after the attacks.
In the first year after the 9-11 attacks, the non-profit Rhode Island for Community and Justice (RICJ) began coordinating a state-wide effort to bring together Rhode Islanders on a mission to express hope, remembrance, and community amidst the frightened and distraught aura of the time. Donations came flooding in for the materials, such as paints and blank tiles, and residents were allowed to express their feelings and reflect on the attack by creating a small image. The created tiles expressed feelings of hope, strength, togetherness, faith, love, and more. Anyone who wanted could create a tile and nobody was turned away for lack of funds.
As such, by September 11th, 2002, the RICJ unveiled the Wall of Hope memorial. At first, RICJ planned on keeping the Wall of Hope installations (there are three in Providence) for about 2 years, as the paints and interior tiles used were not meant to withstand outdoor conditions. As such, the memorial was designed to move to a permanent home after the two years. Ideally, the choice was the to-be-constructed Heritage Harbor Museum, which never came to fruition. The Wall of Hope remained outdoors ever since, although natural wear and graffiti have necessitated some repair.
Every year since the unveiling of the Wall of Hope, the RICJ has held special events on the anniversary of 9/11. On the 2013 anniversary, the RICJ revealed a new addition to the Wall of Hope, titled, “The Never Forgotten of Rhode Island.” This installation pays tribute to the specific Rhode Island residents who died in the attack, and the mosaic features an artistic rendering of the names and faces of those lost.1