WaterFire Providence is an independent, non-profit arts organization whose 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.
This award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence, has been praised by Rhode Island residents and international visitors alike as a powerful work of art and a moving symbol of Providence's renaissance. WaterFire's over eighty sparkling bonfires, the fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, the flickering firelight on the arched bridges, the silhouettes of the firetenders passing by the flames, the torch-lit vessels traveling down the river, and the enchanting music from around the world engage all the senses and emotions of those who stroll the paths of Waterplace Park. WaterFire has captured the imagination of over ten million visitors, bringing life to downtown, and revitalizing Rhode Island's capital city.
Cited by the [Providence Journal] in 1997 as "the most popular work of art created in the capital city's 371-year history" and by Friedrich St. Florian as the "crown jewel of the Providence renaissance," WaterFire continues to grow and gain in popularity. Barnaby Evans created First Fire in 1994 as a commission to celebrate the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence. In June 1996, Evans created Second Fire for the International Sculpture Conference where it became the gathering place for thousands of participants from all over the world. Ardent art supporters convinced Evans to create an on-going fire installation and started a grass-roots effort to establish WaterFire as a non-profit arts organization. With the support of hundreds of dedicated volunteers, a hard working staff, generous donations from visitors, contributions from corporate leaders, and support from the City and State, WaterFire's bright flames now regularly return to illuminate downtown Providence.