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A Look Back at our 7th Annual FireBall Gala Fundraiser

Guests at the 11th Annual FireBall Gala. Photograph by Jen Bonin.
Guests at the 11th Annual FireBall Gala. Photograph by Jen Bonin.

October 19 marked the 7th Annual FireBall Gala and by all accounts, it was a night to remember!

We were honored to present four extraordinary Rhode Islanders with WaterFire Impact Awards: Barbara Papitto, The Honorable David N. Cicilline, Dr. Silas Otniel Rodrigues Pinto, and Umberto Crenca. With such incredible honorees and a great lineup of performances and guests, it’s no surprise that the evening was so memorable.

It was also the most successful FireBall Gala yet! With your help, we raised over $130,000 for WaterFire Providence, including $28,000 in a Fund-A-Program to directly support our two educational and professional development programs: WaterFire Accelerate and ArtLab@WaterFire. We were blown away by this level of support and cannot thank everyone enough for being a part of the festivities.

A large part of this success is thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, especially our in-kind partners. To transform an empty room into a spectacular gala is no small feat, but the teams at High Output, Russell Morin Catering & Events, PEAK Event Services, and Golden Gate Studios made it look easy. We are profoundly grateful for all the ways these partners support our shared community.

The highlight of the evening was the WaterFire Impact Awards Ceremony, which hinged on one crucial element: the awards! Gather Glass created beautiful glass awards using the fiery orange and royal blue colors that represent WaterFire so well. We are doubly grateful to Gather Farm for also contributing to the dessert course with a custom Campfire S’mores ice cream flavor developed specifically for FireBall. 

Like all WaterFire events, FireBall was a celebration of the incredible artistic talent found in our community. We were honored to feature art by current and former Accelerate Artists at FireBall and enjoyed incredible musical, dance, and fashion performances throughout the night. Thanks to Joseph Phommasith and WaterFire’s own Caitlin McDonough for sharing their expert videography skills with us through the videos and projections that were a focal point of the night. We consider ourselves so lucky to exist in partnership with all these incredible artists.

We could write paragraphs and paragraphs about everyone who contributed to FireBall, but it would never be enough to encapsulate our gratitude. The list at the end of this message gives you a sense of the effort and teamwork needed to pull off such a successful event, and we couldn’t be prouder to work with such exceptional people. As we look forward to our 30th year, it is deeply humbling to see how our community shows up for us. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

With gratitude, 

Barnaby Evans and Peter A. Mello, coCEOs of WaterFire Providence

Special thanks to

Artistic Partners:

Big Lux performing at WaterFire. Photograph by Jen Bonin.
Big Lux performing at WaterFire. Photograph by Jen Bonin.

Community Partners:

Russel Morin Catering & Events crew at FireBall. Photograph by Jen Bonin.
Russel Morin Catering & Events crew at FireBall. Photograph by Jen Bonin.

Philanthropic Partners:

  • Arnold B. Chase, Jr.
  • Barbara Papitto
  • Barbara Sokoloff and Dr. Herb Rakatansky
  • Candy Adriance
  • Joseph A. Chazan, M.D. and Victoria Veh
  • And Vincent J. Buonanno Jr., all of whom demonstrated incredible leadership in support of Fund-A-Program and WaterFire more generally.

About the author

Managing Director + CoCEO | + posts by author

Peter joined the WaterFire Providence team in March 2011 to co-lead the organization with Barnaby Evans, founder and executive artistic director. Previously, Peter served as executive director, ceo and board member of the American Sail Training Association (Tall Ships America). In 2006, he founded Sea-Fever Consulting LLC, a management consulting firm focused on strategy, communications and leadership development and launched the Weekly Leader blog and podcast. Prior to that he had a 20 year career in financial services working in New York, Boston, San Francisco and London. Life long mariner, photographer, hockey player and art fan, he lives in Fall River, MA with his dog Zane. Peter proudly serves as a board member of the Fall River Museum of Contemporary Art.

Executive Artistic Director + CoCEO | Website | + posts by author

Barnaby Evans is an artist, designer, developer, thought leader and consultant who uses his experience in many fields and media to create original solutions in planning, public art, public space, environmental resiliency and urban interfaces. Originally trained as a scientist focusing on environment and ecology, Evans creates original art works and design solutions involving major urban interventions, site-specific sculpture installations, photography, landscape, architectural and design projects, writing, and conceptual works.

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