Illuminated Art, Special WaterFires and Ice Dancing on Deck for Providence Holiday Celebrations

WaterFire Providence, the Avenue Concept and FirstWorks are working together to produce holiday events with the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Providence.
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Sharing holiday news at the Providence Pedestrian Bridge.

It may not even be Halloween yet, but the city of Providence is already planning for the holidays. Three major organizations – WaterFire Providence, the Avenue Concept and FirstWorks –  got together on the Providence Pedestrian Bridge today to share holiday happenings with the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Providence.

There’s a lot to look forward to Dec. 1–3 with “Three Nights of Lights,” which will include three partial WaterFires, the illumination of many of Providence’s murals and sculptures commissioned by the Avenue Concept, three performances by an international ice dancing company through Firstworks, and at least two holiday tree lightings outside City Hall and the BankNewport City Center Providence Rink.

All the events will be free, but visitors and locals alike can look forward to promotions and activities from local partners to match up with the timing of the holiday celebrations. The events are funded by Placemaking Grants from Commerce Rhode Island as well as the City of Providence, and the project was conceived by the PWCVB as a way to spur tourism activity.

“The events will absolutely be free,” says Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “We want to make sure arts and culture is accessible to everyone regardless of means.

“I’m excited to partner with great organizations to bring even more vibrancy and activity to downtown,” he says. “Through this new weekend of events, we are excited to both support our tourism, retail and arts partners and give families across the region a chance to make new holiday memories.”

Three partial WaterFires will occur on Dec. 1, 2 and 3 in the basin, while the Avenue Concept will create a nighttime public art gallery with lighting, sound and cultural experiences by partnering with musicians, the Tomaquag Museum, Center for Southeast Asians, Columbus Theater and more.

“Public art sparks conversations within neighborhoods between artists, businesses and people of all ages. It offers space for belonging and strengthens community connections. For these events, we’ll build upon our 2-D and 3-D artworks by adding sound, movement and illumination, to invite attendees to connect with the stories and people who make our communities special,” says Avenue Concept Executive Director Yarrow Thorne.

FirstWorks will wow the crowd once again with presentations by unusual performing artists. They are working with international “rebels on ice” Le Patin Libre in three free performances of “Carte Blanche” at the Providence Rink – BankNewport City Center, which will happen on Thurs., Dec. 1 at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. The Montréal-based ice skating group, whose name translates to “Free Skate,” will feature artistic storytelling. The 8 p.m. performance will be followed by an hour-long, public ice-skating dance party.

The City of Providence’s annual tree lightings will also take place at Providence City Hall on Friday, Dec. 2 and at the Providence Rink on Saturday, Dec. 3.

“December is typically the slowest month for Providence hotels. We plan to market the weekend across the Northeast region,” says PWCVB President and CEO Kristen Adamo. “We also encourage neighborhood associations, arts and cultural organizations and others planning holiday events any time during the season to enter them at threenightsoflights.com. We all want this to be a citywide initiative that brings visitors to every corner of the city.”

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