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

  • New in the store! @brijettemarie Jewelry! 
Stop by today we’re here til 6! .
Brijette is a local Rhode Island jeweler with her roots in agriculture. As a fourth generation woman farmer, the earth, farming, and metals deeply influence her jewelry. She prioritizes wearability and craft-womanship and attempts to capture the precious unfolding of plant and human life with each piece of jewelry. Brijette believes that the earth’s precious minerals and materials connect us with power beyond ourselves, and her goal as a jeweler is to create pieces that reflect and honor that.
  • Art books, best sellers, graphic novels, kids books, cookbooks, and more @waterfireartscenter store. OPEN today til 6pm!
  • This Saturday! Stop by the Store at the WaterFire Arts Center for our Holiday POP UP shopping day. We’re thrilled to have great partners (tap the graphic to see them all!) ..
Thanks to our wonderful @waterfireinterns @alexisjbgordon + @emkayhickey for the graphic design of the holiday pop up materials!
  • These are a few of our favorite things... 🎼 A great holiday cookbook for making your holiday parties delicious, the perfect nighttime story for the little one in your life (thanks @symposiumbooks), just the right mug for some hot chocolate (thanks @jennyrachel_clay), a flashy succulent notebook for those New Year’s resolutions (thanks @dwriletterpress), and of course an ornament for the 🌲 (thanks @photon_fabrications)
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Photograph by @peoneemoullpech
  • Cathy Catudal is one of our highlighted artists for the WFAC Store Holiday Pop-Up. These lovely ceramics take on a number of uses, be it for dips and veggies, hot drinks or soups, or for displaying objects. They are stunningly painted and formed pieces, perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to any home.
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See Cathy’s work and more on Saturday, Dec 8 from 10-6! Find more info on our Facebook page. (Photo by @peoneemoullpech)
  • Join the #GivingTuesday movement today! 💙🧡Many of you have visited the WaterFire Arts Center for an event hosted by companies and orgs around the state or you came this summer to see the @fringepvd festival by @thewilburygroup or you visited the “Rosa Parks House Project” earlier this year. The WaterFire Arts Center has become a multi-use space in our community that first and foremost is the first permanent home for @waterfireprov to create, grow and organize community arts events both in Downtown Providence and in our Valley Street neighborhood. If you’ve been in the space on a regular day you may have seen the dozen box trucks parked in the main hall or the hustle and bustle of staff, @waterfireinterns and volunteers planning and preparing for events. It’s because of your support that we can create an entire season of community arts events! Donate today, click the 🔗 in our bio! ..
Photograph by @waterfirephotogs Tom Lincoln
  • Visit our online store today for #ShopSmallSaturday and receive 20% off with the coupon code shopsmall .
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Apparel, home, books and more. Plus this great mug by Providence’s @milkcanindustries .
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Photograph by @peoneemoullpech
  • Stop in today for a sneak peak at some new products! Also check out our online store over the weekend - staying warm and cozy at home! #shopsmall #supportnonprofits #supportlocalartists #supportlocalbusiness #uniquegifts
  • The Store is open til 7 PM tonight. Come stop by and see Jen!
  • Almost ready! @finefurnishingsshows will open at 5:00 PM tonight. Tickets are $10 at the door. ..
American made handcrafted furniture and accessories.
  • We cannot wait for visitors this weekend to be wowed by the incredible craftsmanship showcased @finefurnishingsshows !!
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See our dear friend, Jenna Goldberg’s work in the WaterFire Arts Center Store including this beautifully intricate and colorful jewelry box.
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#bethere #industrialspace #craftsmanship #furnituredesign
  • My Méz (@mymezusa) offers the opportunity to celebrate a special memory, with a photo mounted on a table or tray (they also can hang on a wall!). These pieces depict two beautiful displays of WaterFire, perfect for adding character to any home. They will be one of 100 vendors at this weekend’s Fine Furnishings Show (@finefurnishingsshows)!
  • We love classics and best sellers 😍 open till 5! 
M-W 10-5
475 Valley St
  • Here’s a burning brazier to warm you up on this chilly day. #keepingwarmbythefire 🔥
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Our production staff designed and built three individual reflection pools in preparation of last Thursday’s FireBall. Levy, Zack, Angel, Dan, Henry and Kevin feed the fires outside the Arts Center all night long! 🔥🔥🔥 #FireBall2018
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Photograph by @erin_cuddigan @waterfirephotogs

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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