About the WaterFire Arts Center

As the result of a strategic planning process focused on capacity-building, long-term sustainability and the transition from an artist-led improvisational activity into a cultural institution, WaterFire Providence purchased the Center in 2012 and began fundraising and rehabilitation for the vacant, historic, industrial building in the underserved Olneyville/Valley neighborhood of Providence. Initially built in 1929 for the US Rubber Company as a multi-purpose manufacturing facility, WaterFire Providence completed renovation of the WaterFire Arts Center in May 2017. The 37,000 sq. ft. multi-use arts center has become WaterFire’s first permanent home in the community.

The WaterFire Arts Center serves as our headquarters, production complex, and multi-purpose arts venue as well as a social enterprise platform strengthening the organization’s long-term financial sustainability. One of the unique features of the WaterFire Arts Center is the Main Hall which provides 15,000 sq. ft. of uninterrupted exhibition, performance, and production space with a 40 ft. ceiling. Previous activities in the building have included the production and performance/exhibition of Megan and Murray McMillan’s Coal Bin Project (2013) which was featured in MassMoCA’s Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder exhibition (2015), the 5 day Providence Fringe Festival (2017-18), and “The Rosa Parks House Project” art installation by Ryan Mendoza (2018).

While Rhode Island is rich with cultural assets and resources including art museums and galleries, there is currently no contemporary art center in the state that can host large installations or surveys. The WaterFire Arts Center is a flexible venue that will fill that void. Work exhibited in the WaterFire Arts Center will align with WaterFire Providence’s mission to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city while valuing contributions of all artists, reflecting true diversity of the contemporary art field, and highlighting women, artists of color, and underrepresented practitioners. The WaterFire Arts Center will further our agenda of providing arts and culture opportunities and experiences for all, regardless of social, cultural, or economic background.

Upcoming Events

Art to Transform the Community

The WaterFire Store

Open weekdays 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

At WaterFire Providence, our mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy. The WaterFire Store allows visitors to bring a piece of their experience home with a WaterFire inspired gift. Find handmade glass ornaments and custom tea light holders from our neighbors Gather Glass, apparel designed by WaterFire staff and interns that are locally screen printed by SWG Promotions, and a curated book collection from Symposium Books

All proceeds from your purchase at the WaterFire Store are used to support the continuation of this free event within our community. Go here to find more ways to get involved.

Visit us at the WaterFire Arts Center, 475 Valley Street, Providence, RI 02908. Our hours are 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday. Follow @waterfireartscenter on Instagram for special events hours.

Our Partners

Building Community, Together

News

The latest updates from WaterFire Providence and the WaterFire Arts Center.

@waterfireartscenter

  • Mark your calendars!!! ✏️🗓WaterFire Providence’s (@waterfireprov) annual fundraising party, FireBall, will be on Thursday, October 18th.
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Dinner✨Dancing✨Art✨Performance
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Tickets available soon. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Contact Event Director Kibbe Reilly at kibbe@kibbereilly.com
  • Teamwork. 👏👏👏 Our volunteer assistant coordinator, Sola is working away with Keegan and Kat @waterfireinterns ⭐️⭐️⭐️ #fridayafternoonrockstars #teamworkmakesthedreamwork
  • The night was illuminated by so many great artists. Cheers to @fringepvd 2018!!!!
  • Family Fringing. Tomorrow. Bouncy house. Ice cream. Del’s. Awesome young performers. Be there. Performances from 3:00 - 6:00pm.
  • New collection of books (and records!) from @symposiumbooks at the WaterFire Store. Stop in when you’re fringing! #fringepvd @fringepvd
  • Three Decembers’ took over the main hall. By t.b.d opera projects. #opera #fringepvd
  • The stages are set and we’re awaiting the audiences. Come Fringe! #fringepvd
  • Let’s Fringe! The @waterfireartscenter is Fringe ready! Opening Night Party tonight at the @thewilburygroup 7 PM to 9 PM with a sneak peek at some performances and meet and greet with the artists. Performances are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday from 7 PM to 10 PM every night. Plus Family Fringe starting at Noon on Saturday! Check out the link in our bio for the performance schedule.
  • 🌧 on one side of Valley Street and ☀️ on the other. #floridashowersinrhodeisland #nofilter #clouds
  • Family Fringe! Saturday, August 4th. 3:00 - 6:00 PM. @waterfireartscenter .
We’re welcoming back the  Manton Avenue Project as part of the fun! AND excited to have a Write Rhode Island! stage with student storytellers PLUS a whole lot more fun!
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Outdoor performances, indoor performances, games, music storytelling, a bounce house!
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Family Fringe Day is presented by The Wilbury Theatre Group with support from WaterFire Arts Center, The Gordon School @gordonschool, the YMCA of Greater Providence @ymcagp, Write Rhode Island! @writerhodeisland and The Manton Avenue Project @mantonaveproject, and RI Food Fights @rifoodfights
  • FRINGEPVD is open to anyone who wants to produce their own show. For some artists, it's a once-a-year opportunity to create a show; for others it can be an opportunity to try something new. 
Audiences are encouraged to take full advantage of the variety of performing & visual artists participating in the fringe. Attend performances that you wouldn't normally attend, see things you wouldn’t otherwise see. ​Keep an open mind, and have fun.

Check the full schedule—link in our bio!
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📷: 2017 FRINGEPVD performance.
  • Fringe with us! FringePVD is back in #Olneyville this summer. Groundbreaking artists. Adventurous audiences. A whole lot of #fringe. The Providence Fringe Festival @fringepvd presented by The Wilbury Group @thewilburygroup in collaboration with WaterFire Providence @waterfireprov
  • Join us tonight at 7:00 PM @waterfireartscenter for an informal conversation with a national thought leader and local practitioners about how cities across America are investing in and programming their public spaces to connect and engage citizens. .
Connection, Engagement and the Civic Commons: A Conversation with Carol Coletta, Senior Fellow, American Cities Practice, The Kresge Foundation
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Joining the conversation will be local practitioners: Bonnie Nickerson, AICP is Director of the Department of Planning + Development and Executive Director of Providence Redevelopment Agency.
Stephanie Fortunato is the Director of the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism.
Barnaby Evans is the Executive Artistic Director of WaterFire Providence.
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See the link in our bio to RSVP
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📸: @erin_cuddigan .
#creativeplacemaking #civiccommons #providence #nonprofits #prideinplace

Mentions

  • I love it. The potential in there is endless, you can do anything from a small, intimate performance to some really epic stuff… It’s completely flexible — the kind of thing you look for in any space.

    Josh Short, artistic director
    The Wilbury Theatre Group
  • We use the Creative Capital moniker when we sell our destination to both meeting and leisure visitors, and quite frankly, that WaterFire Arts Center fits right into our branding. They have a venue there for a large event but also a place where they’ll be able to tell the WaterFire story…

    Martha Sheridan, CEO
    Providence-Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • They’re going to bring the community into the building and that’s why we were attracted to this project–connecting to the community and being a resource for the community. There are intangible benefits of drawing people into the projects. It will be amazing.

    Jeanne Cola, executive director
    LISC Rhode Island
We're in Olneyville!

Open Weekdays

10:00 am – 5:00 p.m.

We're currently closed.

See our calendar for events and holiday hours.

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