Department of Art, Culture + Tourism Recommended for fourth NEA Our Town Grant to Support Collaboration with WaterFire Providence and Six Civic and Cultural Partners

Department of Art, Culture + Tourism Recommended for fourth NEA Our Town Grant to Support Collaboration with WaterFire Providence and Six Civic and Cultural Partners$100,000 earmarked for public art and performance along the Woonasquatucket River

Providence – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 60 awards totaling $4.1 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program.  City of Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (ACT), along with lead cultural partner WaterFire Providence, are proud to announce the recommended awarding of $100,000 to Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts. ACT’s collaborators on the project include: the City of Providence Department of Planning and Development, The Steel Yard, The Dirt Palace, The Wilbury Group, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, and the Manton Avenue Project. Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts (WRGA) will use temporary public art and performance to enliven one of the City’s most beautiful environmental and recreational assets.
“The variety and quality of these Our Town projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as The Department of Art, Culture + Tourism in Providence, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”
WRGA builds from experiences and learnings generated over the past two years during our Department of Planning and Development’s Woonasquatucket Vision Plan feedback sessions, and through the City’s work on three previously funded Our Town projects. 
“WaterFire activates Providence’s waterways for both visitors and residents here in the Creative Capital,” said City of Providence Mayor, Jorge O. Elorza. “This project, driven by dynamic cultural and community partners, will work with Providence artists to support neighborhood investment  and ensure that our new Greenway is a destination for years to come.”
ACT hopes the project will enhance social cohesion among the communities that touch the river, securing pedestrian access to downtown by using cultural programming and temporary public art to generate enhanced community investment in two major City and State-driven transportation projects.

“Providence wisely invested in the rivers at the heart of our city as it has looked to the future,” said Barnaby Evans, Executive Artistic Director of WaterFire. “WaterFire was born out of that vision and for twenty-five years we have been attracting visitors from around the world to the Creative Capital.  We are honored and excited to collaborate with the City and our fabulous arts partners all along the river on the Woonasquatucket Rive Greenway Arts Initiative to help bring even more life and engagement to the river corridor from downtown to Olneyville.”

About the Partnership:
The Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (ACT) ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. The Department envisions a Providence that is a global destination for arts, humanities, and design, where neighbors celebrate diverse cultural and artistic experiences, and where all residents and visitors feel that a relationship to arts practice, making, and culture is a part of their everyday lives.
The Department of Planning and Development works to shape the future of Providence and ensure a high quality of life for city residents and a vibrant, attractive urban environment for businesses, workers and visitors. The Department generates a broad community vision through comprehensive and neighborhood planning initiatives, special area plans and redevelopment plans; excellent design in our built environment through regulatory tools and development review; promotes a high-quality public realm that enhances civic life; and strives to create strong and vibrant neighborhoods through strategic investments and policies.

WaterFire Providence inspires Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.  WaterFire has recently opened the award-winning WaterFire Arts Center alongside the Woonasquatucket River on Valley Street.  The Arts Center has already become a popular and lively destination.
The Dirt Palace is a self-organized collective that supports women artists by providing affordable studio space, facilities, shared resources, opportunities, a culture of cooperation and maintains visibility in the community through a committed public arts presence and long term relationships.

The Manton Avenue Project (MAP) nurtures the unique potential of young people in Olneyville by unleashing their creative voices and uniting them with professional artists to create original theater.

The Steel Yard fosters creative and economic opportunities, by providing workspace, tools, training and education, while forging lasting links to a local tradition of craftsmanship.

The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council encourages, supports and promotes the restoration and preservation of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed as an environmental, recreational, cultural, and economic asset of the State of Rhode Island.

The Wilbury Group produces plays by artists on the cutting-edge of theatre and reimagined classics from the canon.
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