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) and, more recently, the 5 day Providence Fringe Festival (2017).

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.

Art to Transform the Community

Spaces

37,000-square-foot WaterFire Arts Center mixes industrial rawness with modern elements.

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 the summer of 2017.

The preserved industrial framework of the building remains exposed with steel beams creating a beautiful vaulted ceiling in the Main Hall. Historic wood roof panels, paint swatches, and period bricks can also be found intact allowing for a distinctive antique aesthetic for any style of event.

The historic components compliment contemporary finishes designed in the style of early modernist painter Piet Mondrian who famously completed his work “Composition No. III, with Red, Blue, Yellow, and Black” in 1929, the same year that the building was constructed. The geometric patterns in the painting are mimicked in the extensive floor-to-ceiling windows and the bold primary colors in the large contemporary fixtures throughout the building.

For high capacity events, your rental of the Main Hall will also include access to the adjacent Visitor Center providing a unique flexibility for a grand entrance, coat check, check-in, cocktail hour, bridal suite, or backstage! The functional garage door dividing these rooms often acts a great reveal component for your guests to unveil a new portion of the event or unexpected theatrical element.

Also home to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization WaterFire Providence, any rental of the WaterFire Arts Center directly supports the mission and operational costs of the organization!

Main Hall | Visitor Center | Roof Deck

The Main Hall

A cathedral-like space with vestiges of Rhode Island industrial history

The high ceilings and massive windows of the Main Hall are a perfect blend of the old and new. Impeccably renovated, this space brings the best of the past into the present and future. Industrial details show the rich history of this building’s industrial past while clean lines and contemporary finishes clearly define this space as a cutting-edge event venue.

For high capacity events, your rental of the Main Hall will also include access to the adjacent Visitor Center providing a unique flexibility for a grand entrance, coat check, check-in, cocktail hour, bridal suite, or backstage! The functional garage door dividing these rooms often acts a great reveal component for your guests to unveil a new portion of the event or unexpected theatrical element.

Floor Plan | Contact Us 

FEATURES

  • Original 1929 steel and brick structure
  • Versatile, open floor plan exhibition hall
  • Complimentary WiFi access
  • Truss access for lighting and design elements
  • Contemporary finishes in the style of modernist painter Piet Mondrian

CAPACITY

  • 1,200 guests for Cocktail Reception
  • 1,000 guests for Presentation or ceremony
  • 700 guests for Plated Dinner

The Visitor Center

Flexible and Functional!

The Visitor Center is a perfect space to welcome guests to a cocktail party or to use as a lecture hall. The room features large windows, with curtains, and is connected directly to the South Courtyard. Access to the Roof Deck and a pass-through to the Main Hall are available along with a small service kitchen. Presentation facilities including projector and large projection screen are also options in this room.

Floor Plan | Contact Us 

FEATURES

  • Original 1929 steel and brick structure
  • Black-out capability with floor to ceiling curtains
  • Built-in projector and screen for presentations
  • Adjacent kitchenette
  • Complimentary WiFi access
  • Up to 80 chairs available for rental

CAPACITY

  • 125 guests for Cocktail Reception
  • 100 guests for Plated Dinner
  • 100 guests for Ceremony or Presentation

Roof Deck

Scenic exterior space with a view!

A unique escape, this rooftop terrace is perfect for an afternoon affair or an evening under the stars.

Floor Plan | Contact Us 

FEATURES

  • Parquet wood flooring
  • Succulent garden lining the perimeter of the deck
  • Ambient exterior lighting perfect for evening events

CAPACITY

  • 300 guests for Cocktail Reception
  • 150 guests for Plated Dinner

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

  • Staying indoors today? Shop for the holidays on our online store, link in bio. 
#glass #tealight #glassblowing #handmade #shoplocal #shopsmall #holidays #snow #snowday
  • New ornaments from @gatherglass are here! Visit us at 475 Valley Street for all your holiday needs. .
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Open MONDAY - FRIDAY, 10 am - 5 pm
#glassblowing #glassornaments #handmade #shoplocal #shopsmall #pvd #supportsmallbusiness #glass #ornaments #holiday
  • #pastel #sunsets
  • We're here until 4 PM today! Check out our curated collection by @symposiumbooks ....
ALSO check out the incredible work of @provplanning here in the space after a week long workshop with city planners and the community. #woonasquatucket
  • #Bikes 
Impromptu bike parking for the #Woonasquatucket Vision Planning workshops.
  • It's a jungle in here. Come see us at the #FireBall. Find the ticket link in our profile.
  • We're getting ready for #FireBall! Don't miss out on an evening of brilliant fun in support of #WaterFire Providence. Find the ticket link in our profile.
  • Dining, dancing and endless fun. Join us for an evening filled with performances and art in support of @waterfireprov #FireBall2017 🔺Ticket link in the profile. 🔺
  • #goodnight
  • Back to back @waterfireprov events!! So jazzed to have this space to work in. Thanks to our AWESOME fall intern team for doing SO much this week. #waterfireinterns #wecannotdoitwithoutyou
  • Things are just getting started down at the river, come join us for @waterfireprov .
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#waterfire #ringoffire #fire #water #providence #pvd #fall
  • Great sunset tonight at 475 Valley Street
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#sunset #waterfire #designweek #pvd #arts #providence #designxri
  • Join us for an author talk this Saturday, "Providence Lost and Found." with Gene Bunnell & David Brussat 
#authortalk #artscenter #ourcity #pvd
  • RI Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor speaking at the DesignxRI Design Week media event in the WaterFire Arts Center. September 13, 2017 ・・・
#Repost @petermello
  • Events, tours, talks, parties, awards. Get out there and celebrate design in RI!! Check out @designxri for all the DESIGN WEEK RI festival info. designweekri.com #designweekri
📸:@petermello
  • New wine glasses from @gatherglass arrived today!
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#wine #wineoclock #glass #glassblowing #shoplocal #shopsmall #waterfire #shoppvd #pvd
  • New WaterFire buttons have arrived at the Arts Center! .
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#waterfire #waterfireprovidence #flare #pins #fire #shoplocal #shopsmall #nonprofit #community #artscenter #pvd
  • We're out here prepping for tonight- weather is looking good for sunset! Come get warm @waterfireprov #waterfire #waterfireprovidence #sunset #labordayweekend #laborday2017 #fire #downcitypvd #pvd

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 Daily

10:00 am – 5:00 p.m.

We're currently closed.

See our calendar for events and holiday hours.

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