FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Peter A. Mello, managing director
Telephone: (401) 273-1155 x130 | (401) 639-2099
WaterFire Providence Breaks Ground for New Home and Arts Center
Project saves long vacant historic building to be organization’s first permanent home and community arts center
Providence, RI (November 4, 2016) - Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, US Senator Jack Reed and US Congressman James Langevin were joined by Rhode Island State Representative John Lombardi, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, City Council President Luis Aponte, Councilwoman Sabina Matos and representatives from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Bank of America, the Nonprofit Finance Fund and others for a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of the WaterFire Arts Center in the Valley/Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, RI.
"What this building is going to allow us to do is to integrate WaterFire more and more into the spirit of who we are as a city on an ongoing basis. This is a great, great day not only for WaterFire but for the entire City.” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. “The impact that it has on this neighborhood can not be underestimated or over-stressed enough. This building is going to be a great educational venue for our kids and our children throughout our schools and throughout our city. For so many reasons this is such a game-changer project."
Scheduled to open in March 2017, the WaterFire Arts Center is designed by Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects, built by TRAC Builders with project management oversight by The Aspen Group. Originally constructed in 1929 as a US Rubber Corporation storage facility, the 38,000 square foot building will be the organization’s first permanent home in the community as well as a multi-use arts center that will host events, performances and exhibitions. It will also house a visitor and education center that will allow WaterFire to engage the public outside of its world renowned art event that takes place approximately 15 times a year in downtown Providence. WaterFire Providence is partnering with Russ Morin Catering in creating a premiere large event venue in the region that can be packaged with the art event downtown to attract national and international conferences and conventions.
"It (WaterFire) has distinguished RI and highlights our cultural and artistic heritage and excellence. But beyond that it is also a shining example of how arts and culture and creativity can be an economic driver,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. “I'm a firm believer that to bring back this economy we are going to have to build on our strengths and arts and culture is a strength so let's use that to create jobs. WaterFire has done that."
Barbara Sokoloff Associates assisted WaterFire Providence in assembling the financing package for the $13.7m project which includes Federal New Market Tax Credits, Federal and State Historic Tax Credits, Rhode Island Creative and Cultural Economy Bond funds, US EPA and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Brownfields Remediation Grants and other philanthropic support. Project funding partners include LISC, Bank of America and Nonprofit Finance Fund.
A formal announcement of a capital campaign will take place on November 17 at the organization’s FireBall annual fundraiser. (Info and tickets: http://waterfire.org/fireball)
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch was pleased to work, along with our partners, to help create a permanent headquarters for WaterFire, while preserving a significant historic site,” said Mary Thompson, Senior Vice President of Community Development Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Projects like this demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to creating safe and strong communities by promoting economic development for Providence and supporting the local arts community.”
For more details about the project and to view episodes of Building for the Future: The WaterFire Arts Center Story, visit http://future.waterfire.org.
About WaterFire Providence
WaterFire Providence is a 501(c)3 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.
Created in 1994 by the artist Barnaby Evans, each year approximately one million visitors come to downtown Providence to experience WaterFire making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the State of Rhode Island. Annually, WaterFire activity creates $114,000,000 in economic output, generates over $9,000,000 in direct tax revenue for the State of Rhode Island and supports 1,300 jobs for community residents.
For more information about WaterFire Providence, please visit http://waterfire.org and https://www.facebook.com/waterfireprovidence.