WaterFire Staff Stories: Jenn Kobza

What do you do at WaterFire?

I am the Events and Operations Associate at WaterFire. I started as a Special Events Intern three years ago and then worked my way up to a full-time position in the Operations Department. For me, no two days are ever the same but I mainly work on all the details of the logistics to help put an event together alongside my team. When we are downtown I focus on ‘special ops’ which is typically any on-shore or on-river performances among the crowd; including one of our signature lighting ceremonies, that we call the ‘Ring of Fire’ when 100+ torchbearers surround Waterplace Basin. I also coordinate vendors and assist with the set up of our reception tents. At the WaterFire Arts Center, I have been assisting in planning our ArtMart events along with other events that we get a chance to work on.

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

Being an Event Management major at Johnson & Wales University, I have always been so fascinated with all the time and detail that is needed to put events together. If visitors just had a glimpse of all the different components (and meanings behind them!) that we create for each event it would give them a unique perspective of WaterFire events downtown when we are back lighting the river on fire (hopefully soon)!

What place are you looking forward to visiting after our pandemic shut-downs are over?

The first place I visited was White Electric Coffee. I have been waiting to try that place and I always love going to different coffee shops.

Name an organization that impressed you with their pandemic response?

I think PVDonuts has done a very good job of keeping everyone safe while also making sure everyone gets a nice sweet treat on the weekends. They have found new ways to expand the doughnut loving experience along with keeping their traditions since they have been in Providence.

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

Being able to walk along the Woonasquatucket River is a nice and safe way to get fresh air in the city while also being able to see the beautiful views that are right in our backyard of course this is when I’m not busy buying neat stuff from the store at the WaterFire Art Center. 

Lighting Ceremony at the Gloria Gemma's Flames of Hope WaterFire. Photograph by Matthew Huang.
Lighting Ceremony at the Gloria Gemma’s Flames of Hope WaterFire. Photograph by Matthew Huang.

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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