“PVDFest” arts and culture festival to return to Providence in June

Mayor Elorza announces this year's "PVDFest" slated for June 2-5 in downtown Providence. (photo via City of Providence)
Mayor Elorza announces this year’s “PVDFest” slated for June 2-5 in downtown Providence. (photo via City of Providence)

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced Wednesday that PVDFest will return to the city June 2-5 and will “transform streets in the heart of Providence into a celebration of art, music, food, performance and more.”

The four days of citywide events will culminate on Saturday, June 4, beginning with a free celebration that will turn spaces downtown into a performance stage, art gallery, and block party. The Festival will “animate the downtown as a living canvas from the Festival core anchored by Providence City Hall, FirstWorks Plaza Stage, Alex and Ani City Center and Burnside Park, all along the Washington Street corridor to the Empire Street gateway.”

“Building upon the success of last year’s festival, PVDFest will bring new artists and experiences for all of our attendees,” said Mayor Elorza. “We are lucky to have so many talented partners, collaborators, artists and performers participating in PVDFest and look forward to showcasing all that the Creative Capital has to offer to the entire world.”

The City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism will produce the follow up festival, collaborating with FirstWorks, a Providence-based non-profit organization “dedicated to connecting art with audiences.” FirstWorks will curate spectacle, music, and the FirstWorks Plaza Stage spotlighting international stars and local favorites that have festival-goers dancing in the streets and discovering global culture from the world’s stage.

“PVDFest will transform the urban landscape of Kennedy Plaza and Washington Street into a magical space for meeting, playing, and experiencing the arts,” said Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director of FirstWorks. “With a surprise on every street corner, it will be a spectacular mash-up of connecting art and place with audiences.”

A wide array of arts and cultural organizations, businesses, and individual artists and performers make the Festival “hyper-local” as well as global. Key collaborators and programming announced today include:

  • FirstWorks, who will feature musicians from Cuba, Ghana, and Haiti as part of their FirstWorks Plaza Stage and Alex and Ani Rink Stage lineups. In addition, FirstWorks will transform Kennedy Plaza into a pre-historic landscape with “Saurus” a street theatre performance from the Netherlands.
  • The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, which will bring some the programming that has become a staple of summer in Burnside Park to the Festival by creating a community showcase featuring family activities, local performers and vendors, and opportunities to participate and play.
  • The Dean Hotel, will once again collaborate with The Avenue Concept to activate its parking lot with a daylong arts exhibition and block party.
  • AS220, one of the anchor arts institutions located within the festival grounds, will program public art installations and performances in and around all of their buildings, curate performances at The Coastway Community Stage (sponsored by the Coastway Community Bank) and along Washington Street. Resident artists will open up their studios and the AS220 Industries will hold an open house.
  • Beautiful Silence will help turn the parking lot behind the Arnold Building into a dance floor featuring some of the best local DJs.
  • The Avenue Concept will launch its’ Influx Festival of public art at PVDFest.
  • AC+T and WBRU will kick off the 2016 summer concert series at PVDFest on Friday, June 3 in the Alex and Ani Center featuring The Heavy and Joy Formidable.
  • Illuminating Trinity programming by Southside Cultural Center partner tenants including Rhode Island Black Storytellers, RI Latino Arts, Providence Improv Guild, The Wilbury Theater, Laotian Cultural Center, Cambodian Society with generous support from ArtPlace America.

“The DPPC is very pleased to be part of this festival and grateful for our place making partnership with the city. Arts and public programming are two of the essential tools we use to reimagine and rebuild our valuable parks and public spaces,” added Cliff Wood, Executive Director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, a key collaborator in the festival.

“The PVD Fest is an unprecedented coming together of local businesses, artists, and cultural organizations in an annual showcase of the very thing that keeps them tethered to this city day in and day out. A celebration of its very heartbeat,” said Aarin Clemons, Brand and Culture Director at The Dean Hotel.


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