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July 14th, 2018 – Full Lighting


A special dedication in memory of President Donald Farish of Roger Williams University

President Donald Farish of Roger Williams University receives the first light at our September 2013 WaterFire lighting.

WaterFire and its Board of Directors are dedicating this Saturday’s lighting of WaterFire to honor President Donald Farish of Roger Williams University for his inspiring leadership and his transformative impact on our community and our nation. President Farish loved the University, its students, and the challenges he faced in building the institution. He was an articulate and active national spokesman for the importance of higher education and the necessity of keeping college both relevant and affordable. Under Farish’s leadership, the University flourished and expanded; enlarging its spheres of engagement in many directions.

WaterFire was honored to join Roger Williams University for its expansion into Providence and the 20th anniversary of the Law School with a special lighting of WaterFire in 2013. Don Farish and his wife Maia set the fires alight in the spirit of recognizing the inspiring power of enlightenment, reason, and education. Later we hosted over one hundred community design projects developed by Roger Williams students at the just-opened WaterFire Arts Center. I was particularly moved and honored to give the 2016 commencement address when I was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. President Farish’s delight in seeing each student step forth into a bright new life was felt wonderfully by all of us that day.

President Farish’s leadership, inspiring words, and innovations in teaching at Roger Williams will bring light and engagement to generations still to come.  His example of careful, thoughtful, and polite civic engagement inspired leaders and the community to work together to accomplish much and is a perfect example of leadership at its finest.  We will long remember President Farish and his accomplishments.  We can perhaps best honor him, by seeing his as an example of the leadership we must exhibit all across this country.  There is still much to accomplish.

This weekend’s sponsor, Fidelity Investments, wished to join us in this dedication with Rick Metters, V.P. of RI Regional  Public Affairs and Corporate Community Relations, adding, “Fidelity Investments offers its sincere condolences to the family, friends and all of those whose lives were impacted by the important work of President Donald Farish. His commitment to excellence in education, college affordability, and equity, as well as the deep bonds he forged with the community, positioned Roger Williams University as a vital and integral institution in Rhode Island. He will be greatly missed, but his words, work, and wisdom will continue to inspire us all for decades to come.”

– Barnaby Evans, Exec. Artistic Director 

This event is being sponsored by Fidelity Investments and NACUFS 2018 National Conference.

July 14th, 2018 – Full Lighting

Sunset: 8:20 p.m.
The fires will remain lit until 12:30 a.m.
Music Program

Fidelity Investments

All Full WaterFire installations light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park on the below scheduled evenings. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset and the event continues until half past midnight.

WaterFire Providence welcomes back long-time sponsor Fidelity Investments. Fidelity Investments & WaterFire are celebrating their 16-year partnership with Japanese origami cranes hand-folded by Fidelity employees. “These cranes are a symbol of peace, fidelity, and longevity,” said Rick Metters, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs. Be sure to visit the Fidelity Crane Tent to learn how to make your own origami crane. Fidelity’s Crane Tent will be located in Memorial Park close to the corner of College Street and South Main Street.

The National Association of College & University Food Services is holding their national conference in Providence from July 11th through the 14th. As the first association in the U.S solely focused on foodservice in colleges and universities 2018 marks the 60th anniversary for NACUFS. “NACUFS is sponsoring this WaterFire lighting in celebration of its rich 60-year history and for all the possibilities the future holds. NACUFS 2018 National Conference attendees will not want to miss this ceremonial closing event!” says Melissa Aldrich, CMP, MSA, Director of Meetings & Tradeshow.

WaterFire Walking Tour – Before the Fires are Lit!

Nonprofit management intern Sarah Hodgens speaks with guests during the walking tour at our June 30th event. Photograph by Noah Tavares.

Take a walking tour with one of our knowledgeable staff and volunteers to get an inside look into the history, theory of design and management of WaterFire. Get the inside story of WaterFire with two exciting walking tours that begin at 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. This reservation only tour allows those who want to learn the ins, outs, and background of the magic of WaterFire. For a donation of $10 registrants will walk the length of the canal with a tour guide and land at the basin just in time for lighting. Email for detailed information.

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza on Washington Street. Photo by Jennifer Bedford.

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza, in partnership with Bryce Studio, returns to Washington Street and Steeple Street for the 2018 WaterFire Providence season. The Arts Festival Plaza and will be active from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. This outdoor artisan fair will showcase some of the great artwork created in Rhode Island in mediums such as glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry, and more. The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza will offer visitors the opportunity to purchase an artwork by Rhode Island-based artists.

Visit the WaterFire Marketplace on Canal Street and help light up Providence. Support WaterFire with a donation or a purchase of locally designed apparel, glassware, books, and gifts. Pin where you are from on Map Center’s maps and watch glass blowing demonstrations by Gather Glass. Stop by the DipJar Tent at the WaterFire Marketplace on Canal Street – with every dip there’s a chance to win an exclusive WaterFire opportunity (plus other prizes!).

Live Music returns to WaterFire on Steeple Street

The Steeple Street Unplugged Stage returns with another night of live local music during WaterFire.  Bernard John will be performing a mix of folk and rock in two sets on Steeple Street between 7:20 – 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 -10:45 p.m. The Trinity Brewhouse beer tent also returns to Steeple Street for this lighting.

Grab a bite to eat! Visit one of our great food vendors:

Washington Street

On the River Walk between College and Washington Streets

College Street

Various Locations:

Waterplace Park Basin & Memorial Park

Women Who Draw at the RISD ISB Gallery

June 13 – July 14th

The ISB Gallery proudly presents an exhibit of artwork by artist-members of the community and online database Women Who Draw. Founded in 2016, Women Who Draw showcases the work of approximately 5,000 talented female, trans, and non-binary professional illustrators, artists, and cartoonists from all over the world, and highlights illustrators of color, LBTQ+, and other less visible groups. Women Who Draw aims to introduce more diverse voices and visuals into mainstream publications and build a stronger, more engaged community of professional, working artists.

Open late for WaterFire on 6/30 & 7/14 from 5 – 10 p.m.

The ISB Gallery is a non-profit exhibition space that celebrates figurative art and illustration. Curated and underwritten by the Rhode Island School of Design, the space highlights professional artists from early June through RISD Weekend on Columbus Day. During school semesters, the gallery hosts a mix of student or curriculum-related exhibitions. 

Housed in the Illustration Studies Building at 55 Canal Walk in the heart of downtown Providence, ISB Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday 12-5, and late for WaterFire events throughout the summer.  For more information email: or visit

Visit Starry, Starry Night

Starry, Starry Night. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.
Starry, Starry Night. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.

The Starry, Starry Night Installation will shine brightly in Memorial Park. Join thousands of WaterFire visitors in Memorial Park where the public is encouraged to add their own light to the night. For a small donation to WaterFire, make a wish upon a star, or make a dedication with a luminaria candle lantern in the park. The park will be aglow with hanging blue stars and a constellation of twinkling luminaria candle lanterns below.

WaterFire’s favorite characters and attractions are back!

Spogga is an engine of fire. Photo by Thomas Payne.

Fire Dancers Andrew Lindsay and Liz Knights from Cirque De Light and Spogga will dazzle the crowds during several performances throughout the evening at the confluence, on boats, and on the wall of braziers near Memorial Park.

Mime artist Michael Grando will return again for this event. Be sure to catch Michael, in costume as the Commedia dell’arte character Pierrot, as he cruises the river tossing carnations to visitors along the shore.

Michael Grando
Mime artist Michael Grando

Andrew Anselmo

Origami Master Andrew Anselmo will delight crowds of all ages near the RISD auditorium.

Sidewalk Astronomy will offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the stars and planets in the sky. Stop by their learning lab on the riverwalk near College Street.

Sidewalk Astronomy, photograph by Scott MacNeil.

Charge up with National Grid

Photo by Tom Lincoln

Make sure you can capture the magic of WaterFire all evening long by visiting National Grid charging stations on College Street and Steeple Street to recharge your smartphone and other mobile devices during the lighting.

Step back through history at the Governor Stephen Hopkins House

Governor Stephen Hopkins House

Make time to see The Governor Stephen Hopkins House located at 15 Hopkins Street (off Benefit Street). They are open for tours: Wednesdays from 11:00 2:00 p.m. and April through November on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. & until 10:00 p.m., when they fall on a full WaterFire lighting (the last tour begins at 9:30 p.m.).

Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

The museum is also open by appointment, for which there may be a modest admission charge. Please email to make an appointment.

About the author

Interactive Media Manager at WaterFire Providence | + posts by author

I've worked at WaterFire Providence since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career, I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. In 2012 transitioned to the role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I now head up WaterFire Providence's digital projects including, web, social, databases, and our physical IT infrastructure.

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