Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and FirstWorks Executive Artistic Director Kathleen Pletcher have announced the artist roster of the Providence International Arts Festival set for June 13th, 2015, with extended events taking place June 11th-14th.
In this first-ever signature event, arts and culture stage a friendly takeover of the city with 500 artists, 30 public art installations, 15 stages, 18 participating venues, 6 outdoor bars, 3 jaw dropping spectacles, and much more. The dramatic scale and scope of this marquee Festival in the “Creative Capital” of Rhode Island is due to the public-private partnership forged between the City’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and FirstWorks, a Providence-based non-profit organization dedicated to building community through the arts.
Festival lead sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts, Providence Tourism Council, the Rhode Island Foundation, along with key support from IGT (formerly GTECH), and The Avenue Concept. All main Festival events are free and open to the public
Radiating out from the heart of the downtown, Saturday, June 13th Festival will showcase a bounty of local, national, and international artists - from Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Mali, Poland, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and more; use entire buildings as public art canvases; create a remarkable cultural corridor; and light up the evening sky with extraordinary spectacles. As the main hub, Kennedy Plaza becomes a multistage pedestrian piazza with performances, art, and celebration. Washington Street offers an opportunity to stroll and experience surprising art installations, street arts, the diversity of Providence’s cultural community, and more. WaterFire activates the downtown rivers with a full lighting and dynamic sounds. A colorful procession and opening ceremony converges at the FirstWorks Plaza Stage.
"The first ever Providence International Arts Festival will showcase all that Providence has to offer using the city as a stage,” Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “We are the Creative Capital and this Festival is an opportunity to celebrate the arts and to support our artists. I invite everyone to join us."
Propelled by Mayor Elorza’s vision for a destination arts festival and building on the 10-year collaboration between FirstWorks and Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, the partners have created the inaugural PROVIDENCE INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL. The City and FirstWorks have co-led the curation and production of the Festival, connecting international acts with local talent and engaging Rhode Islanders.
“Visitors and residents alike will experience the power of the arts to transform our city,” stated Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director of FirstWorks. “FirstWorks has drawn in international artists to join Providence’s world-class talent for this remarkable event. Festivalgoers will see the familiar anew, as parking lots become lounges and building facades are used as painting surfaces. Equally exciting is the passion our visiting artists have for connecting with communities and students across the state.”
Kennedy Plaza anchors the Festival with six stages, a Buy Local RI marketplace, art and performance inside City Hall, and two satellite art spaces:
Theatrical works, in the streets and in the city’s treasured theater spaces, by the brightest lights of the theater world, will be staged throughout the weekend:
Not to be missed are exhibits at URI Providence, Paperworks, and the Providence Public Library; Providence Children’s Film Festival; sidewalk sales, local artists in stores, and food trucks along Hope Street between Rochambeau Library and Fifth Street; the Providence Preservation Society’s Festival of Historic Houses, which showcases contemporary living in historic homes in the Fox Point neighborhood; and WaterFire, which will light up the river on Saturday night. On Sunday, close out the weekend with Fire Camp at the industrial and creative arts facility The Steel Yard, where there will be hands-on activities for all ages.
Many venues around town will join in the fun and let attendees choose their own adventure, be it karaoke (The Boombox), jamming to the WBRU Summer Kick-off with live music by Matt and Kim and The Kooks (Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel), getting a groove on at The Sweatshop Dance Party with DJ Andy Morris (the Salon), laughing along with Gina Brillon (The Comedy Connection), listening to Poetry in Public Places (Cafe S.O.U.L. and Christopher Johnson), or checking out RI’s beauties at a drag queen show (The Dark Lady).
The Festival is funded with lead support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Providence Tourism Council, The Rhode Island Foundation, IGT (formerly GTECH) and The Avenue Concept. Additional support is was provided by Amica, Textron, Bank of America, Citizen’s Bank, Coastway Bank, Cornish and the Biltmore Garage, Alex and Ani, CVS Health, Waterson/ProvPort, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and University Orthopedics.
Up-to-the-minute information can be found at www.pvdfestival.com. Contact FirstWorks at 401-421-4278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Full festival schedule will be available June 1, 2015.