Updated March 28 at 6:28pm

WaterFire lands $50K NEA grant


PROVIDENCE – WaterFire Providence has been selected as one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the national organization announced Friday.

WaterFire Providence has been recommended for a $50,000 grant to support and measure creative placemaking in the city via its Providence’s Livability Experiments project, an expansion of activities during its annual river lighting arts event downtown.

With the grant, WaterFire will create, develop, present, and analyze up to seven new interactive, collaborative arts activities including fire performances, guerilla art events, street band interventions and a public art project featuring furniture designed by Rhode Island School of Design students.

The nonprofit also will partner with Rhode Island College’s program in geography and department of political science in researching creative placemaking outcomes.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States,” said NEA acting chairman Joan Shigekawa, in a statement.

The NEA in August 2012 received 1,547 eligible applications for ArtWorks grants requesting more than $80 million in funding. The 817 recommended grants total $26.3 million and span 13 artistic disciplines and fields.

“Providence has been at the forefront of the creative placemaking movement because we have so many incredibly innovative arts organizations and artists as well as supportive local, state, and federal government leaders,” said Barnaby Evans, WaterFire Providence creator and executive artistic director, in a statement. “We are honored to have been awarded an NEA grant to continue to advance our work of using public art to inspire, build and transform community.”

Also receiving NEA grants were Brown University [$10,000] to support the Dance Legacy Development Project; Community Musicworks [$20,000], to support free music education and performance programs for at-risk children; and Island Moving Company [$10,000] to support the expansion of Open for Dancing, a site-specific dance and arts festival.


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