WaterFire Staff Stories: Jean Giorgio

What do you do at WaterFire?

Hi, my name is Jean Giorgio and I am a retail associate at the store at the WaterFire Arts Center. My WaterFire story started in 2010 when my husband and I moved to Providence from New York. We were wandering around one evening exploring and we stumbled upon a WaterFire in progress. We were immediately fascinated and I thought this would be a great thing to get involved with to meet people. 

I started as a volunteer, mainly working on the ‘Morning Build’ where volunteers and staff come together on and around the river to get a WaterFire event up and running. I was learning everything from scratch and I was amazed at how much thought and planning went into every detail of the day and night. I learned to prepare torches, build fires in braziers, lay electric cable, set up tents and hospitality areas and work the woodpile among other things. 

I found the people associated with WaterFire, volunteers and staff, to be an extraordinary group. They are very welcoming and truly act as a team despite the diversity in age, experience and background. 

Once the WaterFire Arts Center opened I started volunteering in the store, becoming a Visitor Support Assistant. I became a staff member in 2019

What is something that people might not know about WaterFire that you think they should?

When asked about what makes WaterFire so special, aside from the uniqueness of it’s very existence, I have to come back around to the people. From creator Barnaby Evans through to every member of the staff and the volunteers, this is the most dedicated and creative group of people I ever met. They truly want to make every WaterFire event unique and special for every visitor and they always find a way! Even this year without the traditional WaterFire events on the river the organization has banded together to give the community what they need, a sense of togetherness and continuity. It is mind boggling all the creative ways they have come up with to keep the art flowing. 

What was the first place you visited after the Rhode Island economy began to reopen?

I couldn’t tell you the first place I visited when RI started reopening, but I am so grateful for all the beautiful spots we have in and around the state to be outside enjoying the water views which always help me regain a sense of peace in this crazy time.

What hidden gem in our community do you think people should know about?

A hidden gem in our community is a tough call. Other than my favorite local restaurant, Avenue N American Kitchen, I’d have to say the store at the WaterFire Arts Center. I can always find a gift there and I love knowing that the merchandise is locally sourced!

WaterFire fire tenders. Photograph by Tom Backman.
WaterFire fire tenders. Photograph by Tom Backman.

About WaterFire Staff Stories

Each week we will bring you stories of WaterFire from the perspective of our staff members. This series will feature short videos produced by each team member and they will be sharing stories and facts about our organization as well as their recommendations for places and activities around Rhode Island that you can enjoy.

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For 25 years WaterFire has been transforming place and building community in downtown Providence with impacts that reach into every corner of Rhode Island. Unfortunately, we’ve had to indefinitely postpone the WaterFire season, losing the earned revenue on which our work depends. We need your help—now more than ever—to get us through this financial crisis.

About the author

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I've worked at WaterFire since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career here I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. I have recently transitioned to role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I find it very rewarding working to increase engagement with our supporters both locally and globally.

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