July 26, 2016

Bridge Raising Ceremony Celebrates Progress on WaterFire Art Center

July 2016: Twenty years ago, Barnaby Evans first presented WaterFire in Providence as an art installation that celebrated the City and the 10th anniversary of First Night Providence. Since then, WaterFire has become one of the most visible symbols of the city’s renewal. Annually, WaterFire creates over $114,000,000 in economic impact for local businesses, generates over $9,000,000 in tax revenue for the State of RI and supports nearly 1,300 jobs in the community. Since 1994, more than 15 million visitors have come to downtown Providence to experience the artwork with up to 100,000 in a single evening and 1 million over the course of each WaterFire season.

While the artwork is already an institution in the public’s mind, the 2012 purchase of a historic industrial building at 475 Valley Street sought to provide the basis for long term sustainability for this art through the creation of an “Arts Center” for the organization. WaterFire Providence hired DBVW Architects to assist the organization in further defining and refining their vision for the WaterFire Providence Arts Center. Recently, WaterFire, along with the Design and Construction team, had a "Bridge Raising" ceremony to celebrate major progress on the project. Representatives from WaterFire's Board, Building Committee, DBVW Architects and Trac Builders were in attendance.

With this project, WaterFire will consolidate all staff and operations in one location and create the organization's first permanent home in the community.

Additionally, the WaterFire Arts Center will have a multi-use exhibition, performance and event space that will showcase the best Rhode Island has to offer in visual and performing arts, a visitor center to tell the Providence River Relocation Project story and WaterFire’s role in transforming downtown, and an education center for after school and summer art and boat building programs for Rhode Island youth. The building will be the foundation to increase WaterFire’s significant community impacts for future generations.