Providence, RI – City of Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and Founding Creative Partner FirstWorks announced PVDFest, Rhode Island’s signature art festival will return June 2-5 to transform streets in the heart of Providence into a celebration of art, music, food, performance and more.
Artists and performers from around the block and around the globe will converge in Providence for a free outdoor extravaganza expected to draw thousands of guests. Just days before last year’s inaugural Providence International Arts Festival, GQ magazine declared Providence “America’s Coolest City,” and the rebranded and expanded PVDFest will continue to build that momentum.
The four days of citywide programming will once again culminate on Saturday, June 4, beginning with a free celebration that will turn spaces downtown into a world-class performance stage, cutting edge art gallery, and culturally diverse block party. The Festival will animate the downtown as a living canvas from the Festival core anchored by Providence City Hall, FirstWorks Plaza Stage, Alex and Ani City Center and Burnside Park, all along the Washington Street corridor to the Empire Street gateway.
“Building upon the success of last year’s festival, PVDFest will bring new artists and experiences for all of our attendees,” said Mayor Elorza. “We are lucky to have so many talented partners, collaborators, artists and performers participating in PVDFest and look forward to showcasing all that the Creative Capital has to offer to the entire world.”
Building on the vision of Mayor Elorza, The City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism will produce the follow up festival, collaborating with FirstWorks, a Providence-based non-profit organization dedicated to connecting art with audiences.
Founding Creative Partner for the Festival, FirstWorks staged a full day of headlining performances from international musicians, dancers, and more during last year’s festival. For 2016, FirstWorks will curate spectacle, music, and the FirstWorks Plaza Stage spotlighting international stars and local favorites that have festival-goers dancing in the streets and discovering global culture from the world’s stage.
“PVDFest will transform the urban landscape of Kennedy Plaza and Washington Street into a magical space for meeting, playing, and experiencing the arts,” said Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director of FirstWorks. “With a surprise on every street corner, it will be a spectacular mash-up of connecting art and place with audiences.”
A wide array of arts and cultural organizations, businesses, and individual artists and performers make the Festival hyper-local as well as global. Key collaborators and programming announced today include:
• FirstWorks, who will feature musicians from Cuba, Ghana, and Haiti as part of their FirstWorks Plaza Stage and Alex and Ani Rink Stage lineups. In addition, FirstWorks will transform Kennedy Plaza into a pre-historic landscape with “Saurus” a street theatre performance from the Netherlands.
• The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, which will bring some the programming that has become a staple of summer in Burnside Park to the Festival by creating a community showcase featuring family activities, local performers and vendors, and opportunities to participate and play.
• The Dean Hotel, will once again collaborate with The Avenue Concept to activate its parking lot with a daylong arts exhibition and block party.
• AS220, one of the anchor arts institutions located within the festival grounds, will program public art installations and performances in and around all of their buildings, curate performances at The Coastway Community Stage (sponsored by the Coastway Community Bank) and along Washington Street. Resident artists will open up their studios and the AS220 Industries will hold an open house.
• Beautiful Silence will help turn the parking lot behind the Arnold Building into a dance floor featuring some of the best local DJs.
• The Avenue Concept will launch its’ Influx Festival of public art at PVDFest.
• AC+T and WBRU will kick off the 2016 summer concert series at PVDFest on Friday, June 3 in the Alex and Ani Center featuring The Heavy and Joy Formidable.
• Illuminating Trinity programming by Southside Cultural Center partner tenants including Rhode Island Black Storytellers, RI Latino Arts, Providence Improv Guild, The Wilbury Theater, Laotian Cultural Center, Cambodian Society with generous support from ArtPlace America.
“The DPPC is very pleased to be part of this festival and grateful for our place making partnership with the city. Arts and public programming are two of the essential tools we use to reimagine and rebuild our valuable parks and public spaces,” added Cliff Wood, Executive Director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, a key collaborator in the festival.
“The PVD Fest is an unprecedented coming together of local businesses, artists, and cultural organizations in an annual showcase of the very thing that keeps them tethered to this city day in and day out. A celebration of its very heartbeat,” said Aarin Clemons, Brand and Culture Director at The Dean Hotel.
The new website for PVDFest is now available at www.pvdfest.com for those looking to create, perform, sell or volunteer in this year’s PVDFEST.
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 www.providenceri.com/ArtCultureTourism.
About FirstWorks – FESTIVAL FOUNDING CREATIVE PARTNER
FirstWorks is a non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island whose purpose is to build the cultural, educational and economic vitality of its community by engaging audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs. Since its launch in 2004, FirstWorks festivals, performances 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. The FirstWorks Artistic Icons Series at The Vets connects genre-defining artists like Philip Glass, Rosanne Cash and Wynton Marsalis to Providence audiences, FirstWorks Arts Learning students, and the wider community. In September 2012, FirstWorks and the City of Providence hosted their pilot FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza, an event which attracted 40,000 visitors and generated $1.4 million in economic impact. In June 2015, FirstWorks co-produced the inaugural Providence International Arts Festival with the City of Providence. The four-day showcase turned the Washington Street Corridor and Kennedy Plaza into a world-class spectacle of arts and music featuring 700 local, national and international artists and 30 public art installations. Visit www.first-works.org to learn more.
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.
About The Avenue Concept – FESTIVAL COLLABORATOR
The Avenue Concept is named after the idea of an avenue- a space layered with activity, and one that creates connections for people in their daily lives. We hope to engage people of all ages- not just artists, but everyday people in creative self-expression through Public Art, and support Providence in living up to its name as the Creative Capital. To find out more about The Avenue Concept visit: www.theavenueconcept.com.