Six new members to join the year-long professional development program for young artists under 30
WaterFire Providence announces the third cohort of WaterFire Accelerate, a professional development program for artists under 30. The third cohort includes six prolific young artists spanning a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, photography, textiles, and artists with experience with curatorial work. The new WaterFire Accelerate cohort embarks on its journey in September and will conclude with a group exhibition in July of 2024 while engaging in monthly meetings, events, and site visits.
“We are excited to announce the 3rd cohort of talented young artists in our WaterFire Accelerate professional development program,” said Peter A. Mello, Managing Director + coCEO of WaterFire Providence,“ The next twelve months will provide many amazing opportunities for growth and meaningful connections to the Providence arts community.”
This year’s cohort was selected by a WaterFire Accelerate Selection Committee that included local leaders in the arts: Candida Clayton, gallerist, curator, and art advisor; Michael Rose, Gallery Manager at the Providence Art Club; Sav Hazard-Chaney, former WaterFire Accelerate cohort member; as well as WaterFire staff members Peter A. Mello, Managing Director + coCEO, Nicole Nehiley, Community Relations Manager, and Grechel Rosado, Programs Coordinator.
WaterFire Accelerate is a year-long professional development program for emerging artists under 30 that is specifically designed to provide access to resources that will further participants’ artistic careers. WaterFire Accelerate engages young artists in areas outside the traditional art school experience through a series of meetings, workshops, site visits, and discussions. Professionals in the field share their experiences and learnings in open discussions where topics involving best practices, self-representation, marketing, finance and taxes, and technology surrounding art are explored. Each cohort represents the Providence community and is diverse in both the makeup of participants and their chosen mediums.
WaterFire Accelerate artists receive a stipend that helps them produce new works during the program and aligns with WaterFire Providence’s overall mission of supporting artists and recognizing the value of their craft. Aside from the group show, WaterFire Providence provides various opportunities for WaterFire Accelerate artists to showcase and sell their work throughout the duration of the program at WaterFire ArtMarts, downtown lighting events, as well as inclusion of their artworks and merchandise at the WaterFire Arts Center store.
On October 19th, WaterFire Providence will be hosting the 7th Annual FireBall Gala with proceeds from the night going to support the WaterFire’s workforce development programs like WaterFire Accelerate.
Kannetha Brown is a Cambodian-American photo-based artist born and raised in Rhode Island. With a distinctly contemporary and first-generation perspective, her artwork is a meditation on identity, history, memory, and cultural renaissance within her Cambodian community and family in Rhode Island. Kannetha received a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she graduated with the Morton R. Godine fellowship, as well as departmental and academic honors for her work elevating Asian American history. Her photographs have been recognized by The Library of Congress, Diversify Photo, and Women Photograph, among others, and she was also named “6 of The Best Asian American Photographers in 2022” by the Phoblographer. Her project Two Oceans is held in private and public collections, and is currently featured in a large-scale portrait installation in downtown Providence.
Sydney Darrow is a Rhode Island-based artist who specializes in representational realism, abstract/surrealism, and the fusion of these styles. Her preferred mediums include Oil Paint, Ink, and Charcoal. Sydney’s art delves into themes of nature, duality, femininity, and relationships. Her aspiration is to leave viewers with a newfound understanding of her art, themselves, or a previously unexplored emotion. At the very least, Sydney aims to evoke even the slightest hint of intrigue or inspiration.
Emily Gray (she/her) is a Providence-based aspiring curator and artist, practicing in painting, printmaking, textiles, sculpture, and performance. Her artistic practice is a home-seeking. She commemorates her familial lineage anchored in a contemplation of gender and sexuality in religion and nature, inspired by mysticism. She earned a BA in English and the History of Art in 2022 from Wheaton College, MA. Gray is a recipient of the 2022 Rhode Island Foundation’s Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund which enabled her to conduct interviews with contemporary artists in Ireland on intersections of gender, religion/spirituality, and nature in their work. In her current role as the Executive Assistant at WaterFire Providence, Gray is an arts administrator, focusing on community arts programming and exhibitions at the WaterFire Arts Center.
Andrea Pascual is a designer specializing in crochet and knitwear. The remarkable versatility of crochet and knitting techniques allows them the ability to craft using a diverse range of materials without constraint. They are captivated by the boundless possibilities inherent in these mediums. Their creative journey is fueled by their unwavering commitment to inclusivity and sustainability, both of which guide them to produce pieces that transcend boundaries. Through their work, they find a powerful means of self-expression, a language that communicates their values and passions to the world.
Adolfo Peralta is a Rhode Island based artist, earning a BFA with a concentration in Painting and a BA in Digital Media. Throughout his life, he has had an affinity for traditional hand-drawn animation and its process. His work has historically centered on the physical body and movement; using images created in 3D landscapes as well as from photos and memory to inform his painting. Through painting, he is now exploring themes surrounding family connections, grief, queer yearning, spirituality, and the human experience.
Leiyana Simone Pereira
Leiyana Simone is a Providence, Rhode Island native and a photo-based artist with a focus on subjects of color, her community, and her culture. Her work aims to highlight the extraordinary within the ordinary. Her portraits strive to give a positive representation of people of color and capture their vulnerability, raw beauty, and energy in an ethereal light.
For more information about the WaterFire Accelerate program, visit waterfire.org/waterfire-accelerate/
About the 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.