PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and founding creative partner FirstWorks announced details and schedule of PVDFest set for June 2-5, 2016 with showcase performances on June 4. In this second annual event, arts and culture stage a friendly takeover of the city with 500 artists, 13 stages, 30 food trucks, 13 outdoor bars, 11 local art organizations and more. Building off of Mayor Elorza’s vision, festival is made possible by the generous support of over 40 sponsors, 2 key collaborators (The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and The Dean Hotel), 3 curators (One Providence Experience, Providence Implantations [formerly the Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art], and AS220) and community partners from throughout Providence. All performances and activities are free and open to the public.
“We are the Creative Capital and PVDFest is a perfect display of the local talent and creativity that lives here in Providence,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Building off the success of last year’s festival, this year is an opportunity to combine our local talent with the works of artists from across the globe and truly turn our city into a stage. I look forward to welcoming these international acts here and seeing this celebration of the arts expand year after year.”
Saturday, June 4th, will display an incredible mix of local, national and international acts–from Woonsocket to Westerly and with artists from Cuba, Holland, Haiti, Ghana, India and more.
“A wonderful benefit of the festival is the connection between artists and Providence schools, who have participated through the year in FirstWorks Arts Learning and now have an opportunity to perform or learn directly with artists from across the world. We are thrilled to realize FirstWorks’ mission of connecting art with audiences on a city-scale through PVDFest and partner in Mayor Elorza’s vision for a world-class festival in Providence,” stated Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director of FirstWorks, Festival founding creative partner.
PVDFest features expanded programming and even more to explore. Friday June 3rd will kick off with a selection of art installations popping up around the Downtown area, art-themed walking tours with opportunities to meet the artists, the launch of the City & WBRU’s Summer Concert Series and surprise street performances along Washington Street. At 2pm, Providence will catch its first glimpse of the Dutch theatre company, Close-Act Street Theatre, whose enchanting white winged stilt-walking characters will elegantly inhabit Kennedy Plaza accompanied by drumming of master percussionist from Mali and Providence resident, Sidy Maiga. Grant’s Block, a new site for PVDFest at 250 Westminster Street, will be activated by Providence Implantations (formerly the Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art) with a series of multimedia installations curated with the theme “The City’s Ephemeral Gestures” from 4pm – midnight. Grab a bite from one of the food trucks around Providence City Hall before heading out to explore.
Also on Friday:
• At 2pm and again at 5:30pm, White Wings stilt-walkers of Holland’s Close-Act Theatre will stride the streets, joined by a single Saurus 18-foot tall. You will love how their surreal street theatre magically transforms public space, encourages audience interaction, and asks you to question what was once a familiar environment.
• The White Wings stride along in a special tour of INFLUX art walk sponsored by The Avenue Concept.
• Providence Implantations will present an immersive pavilion by design collective Pneuhaus–constructed from countless inflated balls, and dramatically lit in red, blue and green. At dusk, a trio of animated films by Dennis Hlynsky will be shown, videos by Ziyang Wu, and then Annie Berman will follow.
• Photographer Mary Beth Meehan will lead a walking tour of Seen/Unseen Providence, her large-scale portraits installed on 8 Downtown buildings on view through July 2016. Meet at 5:30pm in front of the Coastway Community Stage; The Providence Athenaeum will host a salon with Meehan in the bank’s parking lot immediately after the tour.
• Beginning at 7pm, The Providence Rink at the Alex and Ani City Center hosts the kick-off to Providence’s nationally-renowned summer concert series produced by the City of Providence and 95.5 WBRU. Local performers Vulgarity hit the stage first with Syracuse University indie rockers Ra Ra Riot following. Closing out the evening at the Rink is England’s The Heavy who draws influence from funk, soul, hip-hop, and the gritty garage rock of the Sonics.
Saturday serves as the showcase day with Kennedy Plaza at the heart of the festival with 13 stages filled with performers throughout the day, and Washington Street is closed to form a cultural corridor with a 4:30pm procession leading into the evening’s festivities on Washington Street:
• FirstWorks Plaza Stage will start at 3:30pm with music from Salsa y Gaitas leading into the Opening Ceremonies at 5pm. The evening continues with reggae from Grammy-nominee Rocky Dawuni (Ghana), local artist Chachi Carvahlo, and a headline 9:30pm set with the Afro-Cuban All Stars. The stage will close with Malian master drummer Sidy Maiga joined by his Afrimanding ensemble and a surprise guest to keep the party going until after midnight.
• Dinosaurs were presumed to be extinct… but the biggest beasts that ever walked the Earth are back to walk amongst festival-goers in Kennedy Plaza in three spectacular appearances! Close Act Theatre’s visually stunning Sauruses roam through the crowd and tower above at 18 feet tall. Playful and spontaneous, these extraordinary moving puppetry installations are maneuvered by a band of stilt walking, dancing acrobats, and have stunned audiences at festivals across the world.
• Coastway Cultural Stage will feature Divine Providence, a joyous concert by local church choirs and performances by local artists all through the night with AS220 closing out the stage with some of their best acts yet.
• The Rink Stage at the Alex and Ani Center will be transformed into an outdoor music venue with afternoon performances from The Paul Murphy Ensemble from The RI Philharmonic Music School, Rising Stars from the FirstWorks Arts Learning schools, Doppelgänger Dance Collective. The evening sizzles with salsa from Providence’s own Grupo Afincao, Harlem-composer DBR‘s Redemption Songs, Plena Libre (Puerto Rico), N. Indian Bhangra music from Red Baraat, and an evening finale by Haiti’s Lakou Mizik, hailed as the next generation Buena Vista Social Club.
• This year, Westminster Street will be home to a marketplace of over 70 merchants and artisans curated by Providence Flea complemented by performances throughout the day and night on Grant’s Block featuring Italian folk music of Newpoli and Providence folk-pop band, Arc Iris.
• Christopher Johnson curates several guerilla styled pop-up poetic happenings throughout the festival footprint including regional poetry slam on a designated PVD Fest stage.
Festival collaborator, the Dean Hotel, will host a block party all day featuring:
• Bolt Coffee Co.
• PVD Oyster Fest
• The Boombox Karaoke Lounge
• Shelter Arcade Bar Pop-Up
• AS220 Industries Pop-Up(s)
• Terry Manning Pop-Up Gallery
The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy will host a celebration of local arts, culture and play designed to entertain and engage all-ages with performances and interactive programming. Performances include:
• Family-friendly theatre, puppets, storytelling, music and dance – featuring an open drum circle with celebrated local Malian born musician Sidy Maiga
• A Chinese Lion Dance parade and performance by the RI Kung Fu Club
• A Camper Spotlight with Girls Rock! Rhode Island
• Dance from the Polyneasian Islands by Napua O Polynesia, and Cajun Music of Magnolia
• Storyteller Valerie Tutson engages with stories drawn from African traditions
• and Elizabeth Keiser‘s Family Fairytale Theater puts a fun twist on the classics.
This year’s festival is will be a non-stop ever evolving four days of art, music and more. For more information and to view more about artists mentioned visit: www.pvdfest.com.
Special thanks to all of PVDFest’s Sponsors:
Community Partners: Rhode Island Foundation, MOO, Waste Management
Leading Partners: Coastway Community Bank, Cox Communications , Providence Journal, Prov Port/Waterson Terminals
Program Partners: Alex & Ani, Amica, Bank of America, Cornish Associates , Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, RISD, Textron Charitable Trust , University Orthopedics
Platinum Partners: Go Providence (PWCVB)
Gold Partners: Beta Group, Brown University, CVS Health, Delta Dental, Dimeo Construction, Dunkin Donuts, Fidelity Investments, IGT, McLaughlin & Moran, Roberts Carroll Feldstein & Peirce, Scott VW
Silver Partners: AAA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield RI, Customers Bank, Foundry Promenade, Hampton Inn, Nortek, Providence Foundation & DID, RICH, RISCA, Rhode Island Council for The Humanities, Sodexo
Bronze Partners: Adler, Pollock & Sheehan, Bliss Properties, Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West, Paperworks, Providence Responsible Night Club Owners
Media Sponsors: Acontecer Latino, Get Magazine, Gravity Labs, Latin 110, Lite 105, NBC 10 , Poder, WPRI 12, Providence Monthly
About Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism – FESTIVAL PRODUCER
Established in 2003, the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (AC+T) 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. Visit http://providenceri.com/ArtCultureTourism.
About FirstWorks – FESTIVAL FOUNDING CREATIVE PARTNER
FirstWorks’ purpose is to build the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of our community by engaging audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs. Launched in 2004, FirstWorks festivals and programs have attracted more than 290,000 participants. The FirstWorks Arts Learning Program works with over 30 public and charter schools across Rhode Island to provide students, particularly those from underserved communities, direct connection with world-class performing artists. In June 2015, FirstWorks co-produced the inaugural Providence International Arts Festival with the City of Providence.
About The Dean Hotel – FESTIVAL COLLABORATOR
Built around the history and culture of Providence, The Dean is a hotel that values collaboration with our neighbors. Filled with custom furniture, craftwork from local purveyors and found objects from Europe and beyond, The Dean revels in the details. This historical building has been elegantly transformed into a 52-room hotel in the heart of Providence’s Downcity district. A place of history, culture, education, arts and design, Providence is a town with a rich and interesting past — and future. Explore the universities, cultural institutions, events, shops, restaurants and galleries that make Providence one of the most hidden, yet intriguing urban destinations in the USA. For more information on the Dean visit: www.thedeanhotel.com.
About The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy – FESTIVAL COLLABORATOR
The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC), a program of the Providence Foundation, is a public-private partnership formed in 2008 to preserve and revitalize Providence’s historic downtown core by transforming it into a lively, cohesive and prosperous economic and cultural center through the development and management of exceptional public spaces. As part of its mission, DPPC manages and creates free public arts, cultural, educational, and recreational programs to engage and build a diverse downtown community within the parks. The DPPC vision includes the creation of a pedestrian-friendly environment, improving the RIPTA ridership experience, bolstering economic well-being, encouraging tourism, and promoting arts and culture. Public programming in Greater Kennedy Plaza transforms the public spaces with concerts, festivals, and family programming. To learn more about DPPC visit: www.provparksconservancy.org.