WaterFire Providence announces the second cohort of WaterFire Accelerate, a professional development program for artists under 30. The second cohort includes six prolific young artists spanning a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, graphic design, rug-tufting, and video production. The new WaterFire Accelerate cohort embarks on their journey in September and will conclude their residency with a group exhibition in July of 2023, while engaging in monthly meetings, events, and site visits. The 2022-2023 WaterFire Accelerate Cohort members are Denzel Amoah, Justin DeGraide, Savaree “Sav” Hazard-Chaney, Hannah Nahas, Rhue Nobre, and Elijah Trice.
“After a very successful year one, pilot project with our inaugural cohort of Ysanel Torres, Kiara Costa, Sydney Sousa, Julio Berroa and Jared Winslow, we are excited to welcome another extraordinary group of young Providence artists into WaterFire Accelerate. This program is our investment in creating a community of young artists who can grow together and support each other during this early pivot period in their careers.”Peter A. Mello, managing director and coCEO, WaterFire Providence
This year’s cohort was selected by a WaterFire Accelerate Selection Committee that included local leaders in the arts: Judith Tolnick Champa, founder and president of the Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art; Lizzie Araujo-Haller, Director, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism; Allison Barry, Cultural Affairs Manager, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism; Michael Rose, Gallery Manager at the Providence Art Club; Julio Berroa, former WaterFire Accelerate cohort member and Executive Director of Haus of Codec as well as WaterFire staff members Peter A. Mello, Managing Director + coCEO, and Nicole Nehiley, Community Relations Manager.
WaterFire Accelerate is a year-long professional development program for emerging artists under 30 that is specifically designed to provide access to resources that will further participants’ artistic careers. WaterFire Accelerate engages young artists in areas outside the traditional art school experience through a series of meetings, workshops, site visits, and discussions. Professionals in the field share their experiences and learnings in open discussions where topics involving best practices, self-representation, marketing, finance and taxes, and technology surrounding art are explored. Each cohort represents the Providence community and is diverse in both the makeup of participants and their chosen mediums.
WaterFire Accelerate artists receive a stipend that helps them produce new works during the program and aligns with WaterFire Providence’s overall mission of supporting artists and recognizing the value of their craft. Aside from the group show, WaterFire Providence provides various opportunities for WaterFire Accelerate artists to showcase and sell their work throughout the duration of the program at WaterFire ArtMarts, downtown lighting events, as well as inclusion of their artworks and merchandise at the WaterFire Arts Center store.
On October 20th, WaterFire Providence, in partnership with Stay Silent PVD, will be hosting the 6th annual FireBall fundraiser with ticket proceeds from the Spread Love City portion of the evening (8 – 11 PM) going to support the WaterFire Accelerate program.
2022-2023 Cohort Member Biographies
Denzel Amoah is a Ghanaian interdisciplinary artist and designer currently living in Providence, RI. who earned a bachelor of science in Urban Studies from Worcester State University and is pursuing a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture. The mediums that Denzel often uses are collage, photography and sculpture, but also experiment with sensory phenomena, including sound and touch. Some of the themes that earlier work explored included identity and the ways in which humans negotiate/tap into multiplicities and the ways in which urban development leaves its mark on city spaces. newer work explores themes of memory as it pertains to place and spatial sensory experiences as well as mysticism through pulling from cultural symbols.
Justin DeGraide is a film photographer based out of Providence, Rhode Island. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Rhode Island College. For Justin, photography has become his way of communicating. Growing up, Justin has always had a hunger and eye for photography. He has been making photographs for over a decade but has focused his attention to film photography since 2017. Throughout the years, he has found that his favorite subjects to capture are different kinds of landscapes and architecture. He wants to draw emotion from people when they look at his photographs, whether it’s good, bad or just want you to feel something. Through practice, patience, and understanding, he has come to a point where he truly knows what this form of art is to him. He hopes to provide a collection of work that truly represents who he is and what he sees in life.
Savaree “Sav” Hazard-Chaney
Savaree “Sav” Hazard-Chaney is a “978” raised and “401” based self-taught artist. Sav explores her big three; community, culture and design through art. She continues to navigate self and self-expression through her joy of exploring different mediums. By nature Sav is a painter capturing all her favorite things from present to childhood. Recently, Sav has begun rug tufting as an extension to her passion for painting. She is excited to bring these pieces and this experience to her community. Sav hopes to inspire other young black creatives. Sav recalls seeing “Saltwater” by Garden of Journey in downtown Providence. She remembers looking up at that mural and saying “this will be me one day”. Sav has embodied this moment of representation and hopes to be that for more black queer artists.
Hannah Nahas is a multi-disciplinary artist of Syrian and Russian descent. Nahas is capturing the constant yearning and existential culture of today with an homage to early storytelling. Between dreamy visuals and delicate materials, her sweet delivery slips from understated themes into swoon-full visions. The energy of her artistry is a reflection of her personality – Unique and starry-eyed. Nahas makes art that you’ll treasure like an unforgettable memory and that fills your soul with the easy warmth of a lovelier time. She works to reshape the unknown from something fearful into something hopeful.
Rhue Nobre is a self-taught filmmaker, photographer & designer with a passion for “creating worlds” through visual storytelling & design. Born in New Bedford, MA and currently based out of Providence, RI – Rhue set her roots in the Providence creative community early on as an assistant videographer for a local music video production company back in 2012. Since then, she has gone on to complete a variety of production + design projects through her own freelance practice, alongside heading up all content & design at stay silent PVD in her role as Art Director. Some of her favorite projects include the DAY TRILL (2019) film “7 SUMMERS”, merchandise design & editorial capture for stay silent’s “9 Years In” collection, and the ideation & completion of the “DAY TRILL Confessional Booth.”
Elijah Trice is a contemporary artist, born and raised in Baltimore. Trice was born into a family of skillful artists, varying from photographers to musicians. At a young age, he developed figurative and technical drawing skills and started to experiment with graphite and charcoal. He went on to receive his B.S in Architecture at Morgan State University. After year of working in an architecture firm, he decided to continue his studies at Rhode Island School of Design. Inspired mostly by everyday conversations with friends, family, even strangers, he captures personalities and expressions that tell stories about his subjects. By being the son of a photographer, he allows his subjects to pose and position themselves however they please. In doing so, this allows the subject to control and tell their narrative in an authentic manner. Select photos go on to be edited and used as reference photos for the painting process. Over the course of a year and a half, a few of Trice’s works have been showcased and sold in multiple art markets and billboards throughout cities such as Providence and Baltimore.