PVDFest to kick off with public art installations, neighborhood parks series, cultural dancers and more throughout the City of Providence
June 17, 2021
PROVIDENCE, RI –Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Providence City Council President John Igliozzi (Ward 7), the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and Founding Partner FirstWorks today announced details for the seventh edition of PVDFest, Providence’s signature arts festival, happening this summer and fall. PVDFest Summer Happenings will pop up citywide June-August and culminate in downtown Providence September 25-26, 2021.
“After an unprecedented year that devastated our local creative community, there is no better way to support our artists and experience what Providence has to offer than attending a PVDFest celebration,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “For the last six years, PVDFest has brought people from all corners of the globe together for a transformational arts experience and this year’s summer series will be no different. I encourage everyone to celebrate our creative community with us in the weeks and months ahead.”
Since its inception in 2015, PVDFest has featured over 5,000 artists, performers and curators, and has regularly drawn more than 100,000 attendees annually into the heart of Downtown during festival weekend. A genuinely unique arts festival, PVDFest has grown year after year, providing new and exciting creative experiences that spotlight the Creative Capital. The festival is produced by the City’s Department of Art, Culture and Tourism in partnership with Founding Partner FirstWorks, a Providence-based non-profit.
“FirstWorks is thrilled to reignite the essential festival spirit of PVDFest by curating citywide live and virtual arts experiences for our entire community to share this summer,” said Kathleen Pletcher, FirstWorks Executive Artistic Director. “We look forward to gathering again with our partners at the City of Providence, the Department of Art Culture + Tourism, Providence Parks and the Roger Williams Park Conservancy to connect audiences with the joy of live arts.”
Building on years of turning streets into stages, PVDFest kicks off this Sunday with a celebration of an All Black Lives Matter street mural designed and curated by a team of local artists. Each year, the festival supports arts projects of all kinds that activate the festival grounds and bring the streets to life. New to this year, the PVDFest summer series will take the festival into our neighborhoods, showcasing everything Providence has to offer. PVDFest has continued throughout the years in large part by the generous sponsors who continue to support Providence’s creative culture year-round, including the Providence City Council.
“As the world opens up again, PVDFest is a welcome opportunity for Providence residents and visitors to come together and enjoy the outstanding arts and entertainment scene that our City has to offer. As in years past, PVD Fest is a time to shine a spotlight on the many talented and vibrant artists, musicians, and local businesses that enrich our city,” stated Council President John J. Igliozzi. “After what has been an incredibly difficult and painful 18 months for our city, state, and nation, I look forward to joining Mayor Elorza, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and FirstWorks to celebrate community, culture and life at our one-of-a-kind PVDFest.”
Information about June and July summer happenings are outlined below:
ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER STREET MURAL CELEBRATION • Sunday, June 20, 4 PM
Location: Washington Street, Adjacent to Burnside Park
PVDFest kicks off with a ribbon cutting and free celebration unveiling Providence’s All Black Lives Matter Street Mural. This officially kicks off PVDFest summer happenings, bringing together the community and the artists who designed the All Black Lives Matter street mural. The work calls out Indigenous, Pan-African, and LGBTQIA+ communities, and features designs by local artists Abenda Sohn, Ayeel Schofield, Sarah Samways, k. funmilayo aileru, Vessna Scheff, Rodney Davis and Nafis M. White.
POLYNESIAN DANCE TROUPE NAPUA O’ POLYNESIA • Sunday, June 27, 5 PM
Location: Roger Williams Park Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn [map]
Return to the thrill of live performances in a gorgeous outdoor setting! Join PVDFest and FirstWorks for a journey from global Jazz to Americana, from hip-hop to sounds from the mountains and rhythms of the sea. Grab your lawn chair (or blanket) and enjoy extraordinary artists in the park. Let these mesmerizing dancers, drummers, and musicians spirit you away on a cultural tour of the Polynesian Islands of Hawaii and New Zealand, then on to Tahiti and the Philippines. No plane ticket required!
PHANTOM NOTES • A FirstWorks commissioned project by Vatic Kuumba and Orlando Hernández • Wednesday, June 30, 4:40 AM-5:15 AM (sunrise)
Location: For streaming info. visit first-works.org
Playwright, poet, performer, and activist Vatic Kuumba and tap dancer, theater-maker and writer Orlando Hernández invite you to be with the sunrise. In the words of the artists, “Gold, Silver, and Coin make a world of time. Prayer is in the ear of the river.”
PVDFEST IN THE PARKS • July 6 – September 16 • Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5 PM
Location: Providence Parks Citywide
The PVDFest in the Parks series of free, outdoor programming will take place throughout all 25 neighborhoods this summer. A great way for residents and visitors alike to discover Providence’s vibrant parks. The series activates public spaces with live arts experiences featuring some of the best of our local artists and offering lots of opportunities for family fun. Pack a picnic dinner and come one out for an evening of music, dance, storytelling, and more! Full schedule of events including locations and artists will be available at www.PVDFest.com by July 1.
PVDFEST IDEAS: HOPE IN THE EVER-LIVING NOW • Monday, July 5, 7 PM
Writers Respond Virtually to Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Location: Providence Public Library’s YouTube page
PVDFest and ACT, in partnership with Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading, will present “Hope in the Ever-living Now,” a live virtual event featuring new works of poetry, prose, and creative writing for performance in response to Frederick Douglass’ ‘What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?’ The work has been performed countless times in the 169 years since its debut, often in the days following Independence Day celebrations, offering a contemplative counterpoint to lively barbecues and fireworks displays. Douglass, the famous abolitionist who freed himself from slavery, originally delivered his speech to the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester, New York on July 5, 1852, a time during which the United States was embroiled in debate over slavery.
LATIN JAZZ MASTER CARLOS DE LEON • Sunday, July 18, 5 PM
Location: Roger Williams Park Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn [map]
Return to the thrill of live performances in a gorgeous outdoor setting! Join PVDFest and FirstWorks for a journey from global Jazz to Americana, from hip-hop to sounds from the mountains and rhythms of the sea. Grab your lawn chair (or blanket) and enjoy extraordinary artists in the park. Rhode Island-based trumpet powerhouse Carlos de Leon is one of the most sought-after jazz performers in New England. A native son of the Dominican Republic, de Leon has graced stages worldwide, performing with notable Latin jazz maestros Tito Puentes, Tito Rodríguez and Francisco “Machito” Grillo. Bring your dancing shoes and take advantage of some hot rhythms!