TALK OF THE TOWN: Guests at an April library benefit dance in the renovated Garden Courtyard.
COURTESY AL WEEMS
By Patricia Daddona PBN Staff Writer
In June, Trinity Repertory Company hosted its 17th annual Pell Awards in a new spot – one where guests could enjoy a Mojito-flavored cupcake or a lamb martini at meal stations anytime they wanted after the playhouse ceremony.
The Providence Public Library was the venue David Azulay, the theater company’s manager of VIP services and special events, chose for the fundraiser, which drew 350 people and raised $170,000 for Trinity Rep. Azulay said he liked “the flow” of food service from room to room.
The recently restored public library since February has been using any of its six different spaces after-hours for events managed, and when requested catered, by Russell Morin Fine Catering, of Attleboro. The partnership is an effort to extend the building to the community and create a new revenue stream to help fund its operating budget, said Tonia Mason, the library’s marketing and communications director.
At the black-tie, June affair, Trinity guests wandered from a raw bar and elaborate cheese station in the library’s Ship Room, where a butler passed hors d’oeuvres, to the playhouse for the ceremony, and then back to the Garden Courtyard and Grand Hall for that lamb martini (whipped potato with a lamb chop in it), liquor-infused cupcakes, and other tasty treats. “I wanted our guests to have access to everything at all times,” Azulay said.
In 1875, the library was chartered and located in Kennedy Plaza, but moved to Snow Street before ground was broken for the building at the corner of Washington and Empire streets in 1896. The classic Venetian Renaissance style structure with Beaux arts detail opened in 1900 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
A $4 million restoration, being paid for with private funds and ongoing fundraising, not only restored some of these grand rooms with their high ceilings, ornate columns, and mahogany veneer tables and cabinetry, but also went toward functional library necessities like heating and ventilation, fire safety and information technology upgrades, Mason added.