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Kellie Martin Moves To New Role As Manager of Community and Corporate Relations

We have some exciting news to share! Kellie Martin, formerly a rockstar Volunteer Coordinator, has started a new position at WaterFire: as of April 1, she is our new Manager of Community and Corporate Relations. 

Our extensive volunteer network has been a critical part of WaterFire since the very beginning when founder Barnaby Evans relied on the help of friends and community members to design, build, and light the very first braziers. No one can understand WaterFire’s relationship with the community better than someone who has worked so closely with our incredible volunteers. In that way, and countless others, Kellie is a perfect fit for this role and we’re thrilled to have her joining the Development team.

Throughout the season, you will see Kellie at the Brazier Society, our private reception for donors and corporate partners. She will also be at the WaterFire Day lighting on April 18 in Memorial Park, when we will announce the 2024 schedule and light the braziers for the first time in the season. We hope you will come say hello and welcome Kellie to her new position!

The WaterFire community makes everything we do possible and we see you all as friends and partners. We want you to feel like you know us as well! To that end, we asked Kellie five questions about her time at WaterFire and what she’s looking forward to about this year in her new position. Give it a read!

Kellie Martin, Manager of Community and Corporate Relations
Kellie Martin, Elaine Charpentier, Bethany Foster, and Caitlin McDonough. Photograph by Tom Backman.

What three words would you use to describe WaterFire to someone who has never been?

Enchanting, unpredictable, free to all 

(That’s five words, but we’ll give it a pass since it’s so perfectly said!)

What is your most magical WaterFire memory:

Regular WaterFire visitors would recognize the song “Little Potato” by Malcolm Dalglish, which plays towards the end of the night at every lighting. Last year we invited Malcolm and his family to come serve as guest lighters. He had never been to WaterFire before and it was magical to see him and his family enjoying the event for the first time. I coincidentally had the good timing to walk by the family later in the night when his song started playing over the speakers and the way they all lit up and started singing the song really warmed my heart! Moments like that are what makes WaterFire such a memorable experience for everyone.

What exhibition at the WaterFire Arts Center Gallery or lighting downtown has been the most memorable to you?

For me, the most memorable exhibition that I’ve seen in the WaterFire Arts Center so far was Planet Earth, the Environment and Our Future, which was also the first show I saw when I first started at WaterFire in 2022. The featured piece was Luke Jerram’s Gaia, a 23-foot-diameter replica of Planet Earth that was hung from the soaring ceilings in the main hall. Gaia and all the other artworks in this show were amazing to see and made walking into work every day much more enjoyable than your typical trip to the office! 

What is the hardest thing about working at WaterFire? What makes it worth it?

The hardest part about working at WaterFire is definitely the long hours on event days. When I was in the Volunteer Department, my day would start at 5:00 am and I would usually get home around 2:00 am the next day, after logging around 30,000 steps (13 miles) on my Apple Watch. WaterFire happens rain or shine, and these long days feel even longer when it is raining, freezing, or boiling hot. But even with the exhaustion and unpredictable weather, it always felt worth it to see all of the volunteers and their excitement to be there, as well as the faces on all of the spectators during the lighting and how grateful they are for the events we put on. This makes all the hard work worth it knowing I have made a difference in the community.

What are you most looking forward to this season?

All of the different lightings! Each event is different from the last and we have some pretty cool activities and programming in store for 2024. This is also our 30th year: the very first WaterFire took place on New Year’s Eve 1994. I’m looking forward to being a part of such a memorable and exciting season. 

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