Gearing up for growth, Steel Yard names Sneider executive director

Howie Sneider, a welder, sculptor and public projects director for The Steel Yard, has been named executive director to lead the nonprofit as it embarks on plans to expand. More

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Gearing up for growth, Steel Yard names Sneider executive director

COURTESY HOWIE SNEIDER
HOWIE SNEIDER, recently appointed executive director of The Steel Yard, said the nonprofit plans to develop a strategic plan to guide its efforts as its scope and scale of programming continue to expand.
Posted 3/27/14

PROVIDENCE – Howie Sneider, a welder, sculptor and public projects director for The Steel Yard, has been named executive director to lead the nonprofit as it embarks on plans to expand.

Effective March 21, the appointment formalized a role Sneider had filled as acting director since December, following the departure in November of his predecessor, Helen Lang, according to the board of directors.

“It’s vital that someone who knows the Yard inside and out leads us into the next 10 years of growth and expansion – all in line with our core values,” said Board Chair Peter Gill Case. “Howie has demonstrated steadfast resiliency and commitment throughout these changing times, and his thoughtful leadership and infectious positive energy earned him the respect of the Yardie family and our partners.”

Starting in 2004 as an artist renting studio space and a teacher at The Steel Yard’s first weekend welding workshop, Sneider created Public Projects, a revenue-generating program that employs local artists and metal workers to design and produce public sculptures intended to foster community-building and creativity.

That endeavor has tripled in size, with more than 700 park benches, trash cans, bike racks, fences and other public sculptures being made for cities and towns across southern New England, Case said.

Now in its 10th year, the Steel Yard’s scope and scale of programming has grown rapidly in the past year, with record enrollment in community courses. The Steel Yard also is working on a new strategic plan for its newly redesigned 3.5-acre site in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood.

“We’re exploring how to codify what we’ve been doing over the last few years as well as look ahead to opportunities for earned income increased services and the ability to reach more people with our work,” Sneider told Providence Business News Thursday.

“Along with that, we’re working to restore the historic buildings on the site, and that will increase capacity by providing additional shop space and more opportunity for programming,” he said. “The strategic plan will help guide that whole process.”

Sneider is a 2002 graduate of Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in sculpture. From 2010 to 2013, he also served as board treasurer for the non-profit Groundwork Providence.

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