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august, 2022

13aug6:00 p.m.11:55 p.m.Saturday, August 13 - Full LightingSupported by the Papitto Opportunity ConnectionWaterFire, 4 North Main Street, Providence RI 02903 Event Organized By: WaterFire Providence

Event Details

The braziers near Memorial Park in Providence with flags flying in the foreground. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.
Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.

Celebrating Rhode Island’s Communities of Color

Supported by the Papitto Opportunity Connection
Full Lighting of WaterFire – Sunset (7:48 pm) – Midnight
Food and Artist Markets open at 6:00 pm
The POC Community Village will open at 6:00 pm
Performances at the Waterplace Place Basin, Steeple Street, and Washington Street Bridge stages will begin at 6:00 pm.
Music Program

For the second consecutive year, WaterFire Providence and The Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC) are celebrating Rhode Island’s communities of color with a full lighting of WaterFire. The event, the largest lighting of the 2022 WaterFire season, will be an immersive cultural experience filled with exciting performance artists, locally renowned musicians, foodpreneurs, and singers representing Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Latino cultures.

“Bringing together and connecting Rhode Island’s communities of color is at the core of what POC works each day to accomplish. We are thrilled to be able to bring together many of the community organizations that are doing important work in our state during WaterFire to celebrate the wonderful, thriving, and diverse communities that make Rhode Island such a special place.”

Barbara Papitto, founder and trustee of the Papitto Opportunity Connection

Among the highlights of the evening’s celebration is the POC Community Village which features more than 40 POC-funded organizations coming together to offer an interactive experience to share information about critical programs and opportunities for communities of color in Rhode Island. The POC Community Village opens at 6:00 PM. 

Visitors strolling along Steeple Street, Canal Street, and Washington Street can connect with more than 40 POC-funded organizations including: Building Futures, Financial Literacy Youth Initiative, RI Black Heritage Society, RI Black Business Association, RI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and more!  The flags of 217 nations will wave in the breeze around the WaterFire installation between Washington Street Bridge and the Crawford Street bridge.

You’ll want to be sure to bring your energy and wear your dancing shoes as dozens of exciting performances highlighting a variety of cultures will perform on three stages throughout the installation. 

Waterplace Basin Stage 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Before the WaterFire lighting begins enjoy cultural performances from around the world. The Lao Youth Center dance group will perform and the Cambodian Society of RI Dance Troupe will perform a Blessing Dance. Dance BFF (Bollywood Fusion and Fitness) will ignite the stage with its upbeat and mesmerizing Bollywood and Bhangra. Get ready to learn some new dance moves and join the fun at BFF’s interactive dance founded by close friends Rupa Datta and Rutja Patil, who both were born and raised in India. BFF’s mission is to create awareness about Indian dance as a cultural art form. Napua O’ Polynesia dancers, drummers, & musicians will bring you on a cultural tour of the Polynesian Islands of Hawaii and New Zealand, as well as Tahiti and the Philippines. This Rhode Island-based dance troupe was founded in 1988 by artistic director Carolyn Castro. 

At approximately 7:30 PM in Waterplace Basin, the Papitto Opportunity  Connection will introduce Mariam Kaba, winner of POC’s Transform RI Scholarship, and announce plans to make her vision for her community come alive with a $1-million investment. The WaterFire lighting ceremony will begin directly after the speaking program concludes.

POC Soundstage on Steeple Street 6:00 – 11:15 PM

Becky Bass, a native of the US Virgin Islands, brings her angelic, soulful voice and skillful steel pan play to the WaterFire stage for a second straight year.  A two-time New England Urban Music Award winner and Brown University graduate, Becky performs uplifting and engaging Caribbean soul music. Chachi Carvalho and the International Players with DJ Cadillac Jack, an energetic multi-talented performing artist, and educator, Chachi is a native Rhode Islander whose roots stem from Cape Verde. A well-known artist, he sends a positive message of hope through his music. Chachi will perform with his exciting and engaging hip-hop band, the International Players. Sidy Maiga and The Bridge Where We Meet, will bring West African Fusion to the WaterFire stage to electrify and bring the audience alive. DJ Cadillac Jack will keep the energy high between sets with a broad mix of up-tempo dance music.

Washington Street Bridge Stage 6:00 – 11:15 PM

Starting at 6:00, before the WaterFire lighting begins, the Washington Street Bridge Stage will feature R&B music from Alexus Lee and reggae from Clatta Bumboo and the Roots Government Band. Alexus Lee a rising star from Providence, Alexus Lee’s commanding R&B vocals and powerful presence will captivate visitors at the Washington Street Bridge Salsa Stage. Influenced by the commanding reggae sound of the likes of The Wailers and Bob Marley, Clatta Bumboo and the Roots Government Band showcases Jamaican culture and ignites the stage with reggae music. Beginning at 8:30 pm there will be 20 minutes of salsa dance instruction and demonstrations followed by two sets from the esteemable Robertico Y su Alebreke. Robertico, a master percussionist hailing from the Dominican Republic, and his Latin group Albreke, bring an exciting and energetic blend of Lain Jazz and Latin American rhythms to the WaterFire stage.  Learn how to salsa and dance the night away to Albreke’s upbeat and engaging sounds.

RI Kung Fu Club performin the Lion Dance on the Basin Stage in 2021. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.
RI Kung Fu Club performin the Lion Dance on the Basin Stage in 2021. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.

The RI Kung Fu and Lion Dance Club will share a symbolic part of the traditional Chinese culture with a Lion dance to foster positive energy and bring good luck. They will be making pop-up appearances at both the Steeple Street and Washington Street Bridge stages throughout the night.

College Street 6:00 – 11:00 pm – Capoeira: Creative Resistance – by Grupo Ondas

Grupo Ondas Capoeira on College Street in 2021. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.
Grupo Ondas Capoeira on College Street in 2021. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.

Capoeira is an art form that involves movement, music and elements of practical philosophy. One experiences the essence of capoeira by ‘playing’ a physical game called the Jogo de Capoeira (game of capoeira) or simply ‘jogo‘. During this ritualized combat, two capoeiristas (players of capoeira) exchange movements of attack and defense in a constant flow while observing the many rituals and proper etiquette of the art. Both players attempt to control the playing area by confusing the opponent with cunning maneuvers and deceptive movements, also known as ‘malicia‘. Capoeira roots can be traced to Alkebula (Also known as Africa) though the art was born in Brazil.  Capoeira is the embodiment of resistance, tenacity and resiliency of peoples that refused to be defined by their bleak circumstances.

Grupo Ondas (established in 2000 by Mestre Tigri – Dr. Silas Pinto in Warwick, Rhode Island) will be presenting a program as part of the group’s 19th RI Capoeira Encounter and Graduation.  For the past 22 years, the group has created initiatives to support immigrant families in their transition to the United States, coordinate efforts to respond to community crises,  educate about mental and fitness physical, provide language instruction to 1st and 2nd generation immigrants, and coordinate courses on Colonial Trauma and Invisible Wounds of Subjugated Communities.

Event Times

(Saturday) 6:00 p.m. - 11:55 p.m.


WaterFire ProvidenceWaterFire Providence® is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy. 475 Valley Street, Providence, RI 02908