A few years back WaterFire Providence launched The WaterFire My Story Project which is a collection of stories, poems and videos that were written by our visitors, performers, volunteers and partners. The goal of the My Story Project is to share stories with our fans from our fans and the idea that your stories tell WaterFire’s story.
Fast forward a few years…
Recently I was catching up with a WaterFire volunteer, Erin Smithers, we talked about music and her love of Jazz, art, volunteering and of course WaterFire. We both reflected on the meaning of WaterFire and what resonated with both of us was the people, those who make the art what it is, those behind the scenes, our supporters, performers, our fans. As a collective of people, their lives are all connected by the event, the people are what keeps volunteers, performers, supporters coming back for more! The sense of community that is created in working together to present WaterFire for all to enjoy is at the core of the art. Being a volunteer herself Erin had stories that helped her define why she kept coming back to the event, it was the people. We want to talk to “the people” who make up the amazing WaterFire community and share a glimpse into their life with our fans.
We are excited to launch this new campaign, The People of WaterFire, a series of posts on our WaterFire Providence blog! Similar to the My Story Project, The People of WaterFire will be an outlet to share stories with our fans. Each post will feature an amazing portrait taken by Erin X. Smithers. We look forward to sharing with you a year of fantastic people!
The People of WaterFire: Christian Guillen
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We start this campaign with a young man named, Christian Guillen. A new face on the WaterFire team, but with the dedication of a veteran volunteer. With perfect attendance from his start, Christian’s dedication and kindness is inspiring to others.
When I have free time from working and going to school, I like to read, listen to various genre of music, and teach myself to play the acoustic guitar from a book. In five years, I would like to see myself finishing a degree at URI for Marine Biology. I believe in being kind, patient, honest, loyal, and confident.
If there is one thing from one particular day I could change or redo, well, I will go back to that day. That was a heavy rainy day and I was visiting my grandmother in Ohio. I held a broken umbrella for this girl I’ve met in an open field we were crossing and we talked and she really caught my attention. I wish the rain didn’t stop so soon, I wish I have asked for her name, or have given her my number.
At WaterFire, volunteering onshore, you meet so many people from across the globe, making those special connections can be very meaningful down the road.
Introduce yourself to Christian at your next visit to a WaterFire event, you will most likely find him volunteering his time at the WaterFire Store!
About the author
Over the last 10+ years, alongside some incredible co-workers and volunteers, I've worked to build the organization that WaterFire Providence is today. As Director of Creative Services, my team and I work on visual communications, graphic design, the visitor experience, merchandising as well as project management for programming at the WaterFire Arts Center. Being a part of the 'Rhode Island' experience for tens of thousands of people is incredible and I have an intense pride in place for both Downtown Providence and the Valley neighborhood.