By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
Providence – WaterFire, the annual summer event that lights up downtown Providence, will expand to Rome, Italy for the first large-scale WaterFire lighting in Europe, Artistic Director Barnaby Evans and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras announced at a press conference Thursday.
“I cannot think of a more magical place to introduce WaterFire to Europe,” Evans said. “It is a great testament to the strength of Providence’s art and design community.
The inaugural Rome lighting will consist of 30 braziers on the city’s Tiber River. WaterFire Rome will be created through the help of volunteers from Rome and Providence including students in the Rhode Island School of Design’s Rome program.
At the invitation of Rome’s Mayor Gianni Alemanno, Taveras will travel to Rome for the inaugural lighting of WaterFire Rome.
“WaterFire has established Providence as a global city. Greater Travel has ranked WaterFire, along with Paris at nightfall, among its greatest destinations after dark in the world,” Taveras said. “I am excited to bring our signature event to a global and historic city like Rome and look forward to sharing our comeback story with our friends in Italy’s capital city.”
WaterFire Rome is sponsored by Lottomatica, GTECH’s holding company, and the city of Rome. It will include an iteration of Robert Hammonds Chance Encounters installation and a dance installation by Linda Foster.
Earlier this year, Italian Consul General Guiseppe Pastorelle and his wife lit WateFire in Providence but efforts to bring WaterFire to Rome began years ago and continued during former Mayor David N. Cicilline’s term as part of discussions between Rome and Providence to establish a cultural exchange.
Since its first lighting in 1994, WaterFire has attracted 15 million people and recently was one of 47 organizations across the country to receive an ArtPlace creative placemaking grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.