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July 20, 2019 – Full Lighting


To the Moon and Beyond: Celebrating the 50th-Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing with Art, Science, and Exploration

Providence and WaterFire are celebrating the 50th-Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission and man’s first steps on the Moon, co-sponsored by the NASA RI Space Consortium with support from Brown University. The celebration includes a series of exhibitions, lectures, and other activities this July at the WaterFire Arts Center and other locations throughout the state. The celebration includes a full lighting of WaterFire on July 20 presented as part of WaterFire’s #Art4Impact Summer of Science Event Series.

Get details on everything happening the WaterFire Arts Center including our Space Chats Lecture Series, Morning Movement Under the Moon, and the special moon-related events around town.

July 20, 2019 – Special Moon Landing WaterFire Lighting

Sunset: 8:16 pm
On-shore activities will begin around 5:00 pm
The fires will remain lit until midnight.
Music Program

Sponsored by NASA/RI Space Grant Program as our Co-Lead sponsor along with Brown University, Providence College, University of Rhode Island, the NASA/RI EPSCoR Program, and the generous support of Textron Charitable Trust.

NASA RI Space Grant Consortium

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.

“Apollo Legacy: Rhode Island and Space Exploration”
5:00 – 10:00 pm
Market Square – 4 North Main Street

An exhibition, science fair and demonstration area presented by NASA RI Space Consortium, and students and faculty from Rhode Island Colleges and universities.

  • NASA astronaut Jeff Hoffman and NASA astronaut Woody Springs; autograph signing after, Robotics Opens to Public, Touch the Moon in Market Square opens to the public, along with Photographs from the NASA Archives of space exploration
  • STEAM learning opportunities for kids
  • Looking Glass 3D displays of galaxy clusters
  • RI Computer Museum
  • RISD Mars Rover
  • RISD Spacesuit design
  • RI Museum of Science and Art science learning demonstrations (these might be moved to another site, depending on space requirements)
  • Rhode Island model rocket association display
  • Model of the Apollo 11 Command Module constructed by students at Warwick Area Career Technical Center

RISD Museum (Metcalf Auditorium) – Chace Center, 20 North Main Street
Starting at 6:00 pm

  • 6:15 pm – Lecture: NASA astronaut Woody Spring; autograph signing after.
  • 7:30 pm – Lecture: NASA astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, professor at MIT’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department

Waterplace Basin Stage
Starting around 8:20 pm

  • Festival Ballet Providence “Revolutions; a performative work exploring space and humanity”

Washington Street Bridge
6:00 – 10:00 pm

  • “Dr. Samuel Wagstaff’s Eminent Emporium of Photography”- Come and have your portrait taken sitting on a classic Crescent Moon, a feature in many Victorian photo parlors.
  • Dassault Systèmes education pods on the visualization of scientific data and 3D Selfie Station.
  • SolidWorks Apps for Kids Classroom educational station.
  • First Robotics Robots on Fire Showcase of robots designed and built by students from 5th grade through high school.
  • RI Museum of Science and Art science learning demonstrations

Exhibitions at the RISD Illustration Studies Building Gallery

Envisioning Space at the RISD ISB Gallery

The exhibition at ISB is free!

The ISB Gallery and Michael Kolondowicz are working together to bring you the installation of the Apollo 11 anniversary exhibit that coincides with the Waterfire Apollo themed event on July 22nd. The Gallery will display incredible artwork, illustrations, and NASA photographs and other projects.

The gallery is open every WaterFire night from 4:00 to 10:00 pm.

Dates: June 19 through August 3
Hours: Tuesday through Friday 12:00 – 5:00 pm.
Address: 55 Canal Walk, Providence, RI 02903

Sidewalk Astronomy on the River Walk

Sidewalk Astronomy, photograph by Scott MacNeil.

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.

WaterFire Walking Tour – Before the Fires are Lit!

Photograph by Noah Tavares.

Take a walking tour with our knowledgeable interns and volunteers to get an inside look into the history, theory of design, and management of WaterFire. Tours begin at 3:00, 4:00 and 5:00 pm; book now for July 20. For a donation of $15 registrants will walk the length of the canal with a tour guide and land at the basin just in time for lighting.

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, is happening again on both Washington Street and Steeple Street from 6:00 – 11:30 pm., 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 support the local arts economy by purchasing work 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 by Gather Glass.

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

Various Locations:

Waterplace Park Basin & Memorial Park

On the River Walk between College and Washington Streets

Live Music at the Steeple Street Unplugged WaterFire Music Stage

WaterFire Providence is once again pleased to present live local music at the WaterFire Music Stage on Steeple Street. Performers will include singer/songwriters Lily Rhodes, acoustic guitar and ukulele; and Devin Bender, ukulele.

Southern Rhode Island songwriter Devin Bender uses the ukulele to promote peace, mindfulness, and community. Art is powerful magic and with great power comes great responsibility.


  • 6:30 – 7:15 pm – Lily Rhodes
  • 7:30 – 8:15 pm – Devin Bender
  • 8:30 – 9:15 pm – Lily Rhodes
  • 9:30 – 10:15 pm – Devin Bender

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 are back!

Liz Knights performing at WaterFire Providence, photo by John Nickerson,
Liz Knights performing at WaterFire Providence, photograph by John Nickerson,
  • At the World War I monument in Memorial Park, Ten31 Productions will return with their interactive living statues and gargoyles in Memorial Park shortly after lighting.
  • On Washington Street, the living statue Lily the Lady White from A Silent Soapbox will be interacting with the crowd.
  • On Steeple Street living statues from Acqua Carta will be greeting visitors as they make their way through the Arts Festival Plaza and the WaterFire Marketplace.
  • Fire dancers Andrew Lindsay and Liz Knights from Cirque de Light will dazzle the crowds during several performances throughout the evening at the confluence and on the wall of braziers in 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.

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 [email protected] to make an appointment.

About the author

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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.

2 thoughts on “July 20, 2019 – Full Lighting”

  1. Hello,

    I’m interested in booking the boat tickets for the July 20th full lighting. How far in advance should I book? Also, what are the starting and ending times of the actual boat ride?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Lan, we don’t offer boat rides to the public. There are two companies, La Gondola and the Providence River Boat Company, that offer tours on the river during WaterFire lighting. They each have their own booking systems. We have info on each with links on the Plan Your Trip to Providence pages of our website.

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