This is an award-winning sculpture installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Stroll the paths of Waterplace Park and enjoy enchanting music from around the world. There are one hundred sparkling bonfires and silhouettes of the fire tenders who pass by the flames, as well as torch-lit vessels traveling down the river. Waterfire captures the attention of over ten million visitors to downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

The sculpture was created by Barnaby Evans. Art supporters persuaded Evans to create an on-going fire installation and established WaterFire as a non-profit arts organization.

WaterFire Providence expanded to 42 braziers in 1997. It attracted approximately 350,000 people during thirteen lightings. The Renaissance Award from the City of Providence was given to Evans for his work as an artist and his role in revitalizing downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

There is no formal admission charge. They do ask for and need donations and support to present the event and cover their expenses. One particularly way to contribute is to dedicate and light a luminaria candle lantern in honor of someone to commemorate a special occasion or accomplishment. Tables in the park offer the lanterns in exchange for a $10 donation.

An integral component to the sculpture is the music for WaterFire Providence. It is a soundtrack that interacts with the acoustics of the river walkways and the natural sounds of over 80 blazing fires. The music combines recorded natural sounds with eclectic and unusual music related to the ritual, religious and symbolic sources of the sculpture. Each performance presents a different soundtrack with works by artists from around the world that is deliberately juxtaposed.

WaterFire usually occurs on every other Saturday night.

The soundtracks are by four principal composers:

• The Estonian composer Arvo Part’s modern reinterpretations of ancient Christian and Russian Orthodox liturgical music
• The Armenian folk melodies played by Djivan Gasparyan on the Duduk or Nay (an Armenian oboe)
• The American avant-garde composer David Hykes’ settings of various religious music for small chorus that uses vocal techniques derived from Tibetan “overchanting”
• Selections from Nicholas Lens’ Flamma Flamma – The Fire Requiem

They include additional works in the winter season. All the music is work of the original artists of which they retain the copyright.

Source: WaterFire Providence Online

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

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Written by: Connie Limon. For more vacation ideas visit
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