We need your help to continue creating during challenging times!
We entered 2020 celebrating 25 years of creating and presenting art that transforms place and builds community in downtown Providence with our popular event and more recently in the Valley/Olneyville neighborhood at the WaterFire Arts Center.
But in February everything changed. COVID-19 arrived and we went from planning celebrations to planning for survival.
Due to government imposed physical distancing and crowd size limitation, we have been unable to secure sponsorships for the WaterFire event downtown or earn rental fees from the WaterFire Arts Center. In 2020, our revenues are down by more than 50% and we have significantly reduced operations and expenses including furloughing and reducing staff hours 50% which is not sustainable for the long term.
The coronavirus has had a significant impact on our organization but we believe that it was important to make a commitment to create and present impactful art to help our community navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
We need your support today to allow us to continue to create and present safe, live, in-person art experiences like:
- Beacon of Hope, which commemorated every Rhode Island life lost to COVID-19
- #StayHomeWaterFire which invited the community to create their own WaterFire experience and recognized students, graduates, teachers, administrators and parents who worked together to successfully navigate the challenges of distancing learning.
- 8th annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans, a virtual event which premiered on Facebook and will be broadcast in RI PBS in January 2021.
- Our partnership with the Wilbury Theatre Group produced Decameron Providence, which the New York Times featured as one of just a handful of live, in-person theater art experiences across the US during the pandemic, and Fire Flowers and a Time Machine.
- The WaterFire Theater Under the Stars, an experimental outdoor stage and large screen that showcases a mix of live theater, dance, music, film and educational presentations.
- ArtMart, a series of outdoor, pop up markets that features the work of WaterFire’s New Flame and other artists.
Looking ahead, we are excited to present safe, physically distant exhibitions in the WaterFire Arts Center starting in December 2020 with the Vanta Guild, a creative collective of black photographers “who unapologetically celebrate and depict the experiences and imaginations of those of the African diaspora.” In 2021, our Pass the Torch series with Networks Rhode Island artists will kick off in January with an exhibition of the work and life of sculptor Howard Ben Tré and in March we will exhibit a retrospective of the work of photographer Mary Beth Meehan.
We need your support to continue to create art that helps navigate these pandemic challenges and provides hope for the future of our community.
Last July, we launched the WaterFire Relief Fund to help mitigate the pandemic’s catastrophic impact on our organization, programs, and dedicated creative workforce who are the heart and soul of our vibrant organization. Funding will be used to retain WaterFire Providence’s full-time staff as we temporarily pivot to virtual and alternative programming in the WaterFire Arts Center and beyond. As of November, we are at nearly $400,000 of our $1,000,000 Relief Fund goal.
For this Giving Tuesday and the Holiday Giving Season, please make the biggest gift possible to the WaterFire Relief Fund in celebration of 25 years since the first WaterFire lighting and to help us continue to create and present art that transforms place and builds community today and long into the future.
We need your help to survive the coronavirus.