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

  • 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
  • Summer #waterfireinterns are off to an AMAZING start! The @waterfireprov team is inspired by their energy and ideas! #internsmakingadifference #waterfire #ourfutureisbright
  • “The Rosa Parks House Project” exhibition. #artinstallation by @ryanmendozart #civilrightsmovement
  • Community Picnic kicking off with the talented #roseweaver 
Come by!! We’re open til 5pm. .
#providence #rhodeisland #community #rosaparkshouse #picnic
  • “The Rosa Parks House Project” is open 2 more days. Tomorrow and Sunday 10am-5pm. Want to picnic with us? Come tomorrow between Noon and 5pm and enjoy a community picnic and performances all day!
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📷: @erin_cuddigan #waterfirevolunteerphotographer
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#rosaparks #rosaparkshouse #community #picnic #artscenter #pvdart #rhodeisland
  • Tomorrow. Noon to 5pm. Join us for a Community Picnic Party and Concert on the “front lawn” of “The Rosa Parks House Project” @waterfireartscenter
  • @ripublicradio Celebrating 20 Years of Sound and Vision @waterfireartscenter #RINPR
#20YearsSoundVision #BePartOfTheVision
  • Members of the community are spending the morning @waterfireartscenter for a symposium, “Everybody’s House” with a series of discussions around the house project with viewpoints of art, preservation and a memory led by @risdintar faculty. .
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#rosaparkshouse #everybodyshouse #risd #waterfireartscenter
  • Thanks for visiting “The Rosa House Parks Project” @t2stem!! The art installation by @ryanmendozart is open to visit. Check out the link in our bio to get to the events calendar for hours. #rosaparks @waterfirevolunteer #docent #jerrysuggs
  • Stop by the #WaterFire Store for a SIGNED copy of one of #jeannetheoharis books.
#rosaparks #civilrights
  • Join us today at the WaterFire Arts Center for a Celebration of Rosa Parks recognizing this great woman's harrowing life journey and monumental contributions to civil rights that sadly still need defending today. 
See @ryanmendozart ’s artwork “Rosa Parks House Project”, listen to panel discussions, a speaking program at 3PM and a concert starting at 4 PM.
  • Last week we held a series of community engagement meetings with community stakeholders. We're working on a plan to move forward with Ryan Mendoza's Rosa Parks House exhibit.
  • Don’t let the snow get you down, the WaterFire season is almost here! Shop online today and get 20% off all apparel with code SNOWDAY —

#snow #snowday #shopsmall #shoplocal #waterfire #providence
  • Building things at the #WaterFire Arts Center.
  • #Prometheus
  • Don’t forget your Valentine! Shop online and choose in store pickup to have your gift for Wednesday. .
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#valentinesday #valentine #gift #shoplocal #february #waterfire #providence #handmade #shopsmall #pvd #glass #letterpress
  • #Sunset photo-op.
  • Our four wheeled friends are back at home. #waterfirefleet #whatittakes #behindthescenes

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 open.

See our calendar for events and holiday hours.

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