Providence, Rhode Island, is a city known for its restaurants, its arts scene, and its colorful political figures. It’s also America’s Favorite City (according to Travel & Leisure). And right now it’s got what is surely the highest per capita concentration of unicorns in the nation.
Last winter, artist Camomile Hixon unveiled Unicorns In Residence, an exhibit at Providence Public Libary featuring over a dozen glittery purplish-pink wooden unicorns galloping on a field of clouds. They stuck around for a while, but then galloped off into the city, popping up overnight in parks, libraries and all manner of other unexpected venues.
Signs in English and Spanish were posted around the city with a phone number you could call to report unicorn sightings (for some reason you had to call a Brooklyn number and not a Providence number but oh well).
According to the Unicorns In Residence website: “[T]he sparkling promise of a missing unicorn, and the subsequent discovery of a herd of unicorns stampeding and galloping through Providence, will joyfully reveal this city’s creative and independent spirit.”
This may all sound like a fun project for young children, but oh no. The John Hay Library at Brown University held a unicorn colloquium in conjunction with a four-month exhibit entitled The Unicorn Found: Science, Literature and the Arts. On their website you can learn quite a lot about the history of unicorns dating back to ancient times; I bet you didn’t know that Nordic sailors in the Middle Ages used to pass off narwhal tusks as evidence that unicorn horns were real — those scamps!
Unfortunately, if you’d like to see the exhibit or the glittery unicorns in person, the exhibit recently ended. Otherwise, take a gander through Brown’s unicorn archive and check out some photos I snapped while I still could.