Updated: Apr 13
Real estate agency with foundation supports local artists
GIVING BACK: Eduardo Marines is the broker owner of REALPRO By The Water in Pawtuxet Village. The company has a 501(c)(3) that supports local artists and hosts art nights once a quarter. (Herald photo)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2022 7:00 pm
By EMMA BARTLETT Artwork may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of real estate, but Pawtuxet Village’s REALPRO By The Water has merged the two and is supporting Rhode Island based artists in the process. REALPRO By The Water opened in June of 2021 and established its 501(c)(3) in the beginning of 2022. The foundation seeks to “support local artists, provide cultural and ethnic awareness, assist in local nonprofit organizations with their fundraising efforts and promote homeownership through educational programs and neighborhood rehabilitation efforts in order to provide affordable housing to low to moderate income homebuyers.” The foundation holds artist nights each quarter for visitors to stop by and look at artwork hanging throughout the building’s gallery. Artists are encouraged to attend the three-hour event and stand by their work to answer questions. The pieces are available for purchase and, to keep the art fresh, the work is rotated every three months. Cranston resident and broker owner Eduardo Marines, 46, said REALPRO By The Water held its first artist night in September 2021. Since the first showing, the company has received more local traffic on those nights. “I think people are really starting to recognize us as an actual art gallery as well and not just a real estate office,” said owner Eduardo Marines. While artists make sales, REALPRO By The Water makes commissions on the sales; the company then donates these funds to different community groups. Most recently, the business raised money for Special Olympics Rhode Island and the Nonviolence Institute. “A lot of these organizations are local nonprofits, so the goal is to be able to help them out,” Marines said. The foundation’s art director, Jose Ramirez, is a photographer and realtor who has been in the artistic industry for some time and recruited some of the local artists whose work is hanging on REALPRO By The Water’s walls. Marines said artists are now spreading the word between themselves and coming into the business to ask about exhibiting their work and when the next rotation is. Marines hangs most of the artwork himself – focusing on spacing the pieces and making sure the art isn’t too high or low so individuals can appreciate it. While the company highlights work from local artists, the business has received requests from out of state artists asking to show their work. Marines said these individuals are allowed to have their work on display, however, it can only be shown on an easel and will remain up for a week. Marines said part of the reason for creating the foundation was providing support for the artist; the group was less focused on the fundraising aspect. When the foundation realized the level of interest and participation they’d have at the artist nights, the group decided to make a difference elsewhere too, which was why they began donating money to local organizations. Prior to opening his own agency in 2021, Marines started work with RE/MAX in 2004 and became a broker in 2008. The idea came to mind when his children spoke of wanting to go into the real estate business and Marines wanted to establish a base that they could go ahead and carry on with and grow themselves. Today 31 licensed agents work in the space and the company is heading toward franchising the brand. Marines said the initial idea was to open with RE/MAX but it didn’t work out because of the location. He decided to create a stand alone brand – REALPRO By The Water. Once established, Marines realized that the business should not just be about him and his kids. “It's about helping all the individuals that walk in through that door that want to do real estate and take it on as a career,” Marines said. Marines shared that the company’s trained agents are on top of local market conditions so, when people come in, they are speaking with well-informed individuals who can give them the proper guidance they need to successfully purchase or sell their home. The company uses 3D tours, drones for aerial views of the property and has quality image equipment. Marines added that several agents contribute to the foundation per transaction. He hopes to continue and grow funding that – if someone came in who couldn’t feed their family – they’d want to lend a hand. Moving forward, REALPRO By The Water would like to hold a cultural arts festival in August of 2023 at Pawtuxet Park. The event would feature cultural performances from different ethnic groups. “When you start seeing these beautiful cultural performances and you learn the history behind it, I think you tend to value the cultures a little bit more because you have an understanding of the background and what their performances really bring to light and what they really mean behind the art,” Marines said. As the year comes to a close, REALPRO By The Water will be awarding several checks to organizations once the bookkeeping is finalized and the company tallies up what was sold and the sponsorships which came in. “It was always about making a difference,” Marines said, who said the next artist night will take place on March 1 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The foundation is also looking for support from entities that are supportive of the artists industry and would be able to contribute to what REALPRO By The Water is trying to build. The company is also looking for arts and cultural grant programs for the arts in the state which the city’s Economic Development Department is assisting Marines with.