Signature Event in “America’s Coolest City” Returns for Second Year
Rebranded and expanded, PVDFest will bring four days of art, music, and to the
streets of Providence, June 2-5, 2016
Providence, RI – City of Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, the Department of Art,
Culture + Tourism and Founding Creative Partner FirstWorks announced PVDFest, Rhode
Island’s signature art festival will return June 2-5 to transform streets in the
heart of Providence into a celebration of art, music, food, performance and more.
Artists and performers from around the block and around the globe will converge in
Providence for a free outdoor extravaganza expected to draw thousands of guests.
Just days before last year’s inaugural Providence International Arts Festival, GQ
magazine declared Providence “America’s Coolest City,” and the rebranded and
expanded PVDFest will continue to build that momentum.
The four days of citywide programming will once again culminate on Saturday, June 4,
beginning with a free celebration that will turn spaces downtown into a world-class
performance stage, cutting edge art gallery, and culturally diverse 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
“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.”
Building on the vision of Mayor Elorza, 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. Founding Creative Partner for the Festival, FirstWorks staged a full
day of headlining performances from international musicians, dancers, and more
during last year’s festival. For 2016, 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
“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
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.
The new website for PVDFest is now available at
or volunteer in this year’s PVDFEST.
About Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism – FESTIVAL PRODUCER
Established in 2003, the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (AC+T)
ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts
and culture into community life while showcasing Providence as an international
cultural destination. Visit
About FirstWorks – FESTIVAL FOUNDING CREATIVE PARTNER
FirstWorks is a non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island whose purpose is to
build the cultural, educational and economic vitality of its community by engaging
audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs. Since its launch
in 2004, FirstWorks festivals, performances and programs have attracted more than
290,000 participants. The FirstWorks Arts Learning Program works with over 30 public
and charter schools across Rhode Island to provide students, particularly those from
underserved communities, direct connection with world-class performing artists. The
FirstWorks Artistic Icons Series at The Vets connects genre-defining artists like
Philip Glass, Rosanne Cash and Wynton Marsalis to Providence audiences, FirstWorks
Arts Learning students, and the wider community. In September 2012, FirstWorks and
the City of Providence hosted their pilot FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza, an event
which attracted 40,000 visitors and generated $1.4 million in economic impact. In
June 2015, FirstWorks co-produced the inaugural Providence International Arts
Festival with the City of Providence. The four-day showcase turned the Washington
Street Corridor and Kennedy Plaza into a world-class spectacle of arts and music
featuring 700 local, national and international artists and 30 public art
installations. Visit www.first-works.org
About The Dean Hotel – FESTIVAL COLLABORATOR
Built around the history and culture of Providence, The Dean is a hotel that values
collaboration with our neighbors. Filled with custom furniture, craftwork from local
purveyors and found objects from Europe and beyond, The Dean revels in the details.
This historical building has been elegantly transformed into a 52-room hotel in the
heart of Providence’s Downcity district. A place of history, culture, education,
arts and design, Providence is a town with a rich and interesting past – and future.
Explore the universities, cultural institutions, events, shops, restaurants and
galleries that make Providence one of the most hidden, yet intriguing urban
destinations in the USA. For more information on the Dean visit:
About The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy – FESTIVAL COLLABORATOR
The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC), a program of the Providence
Foundation, is a public-private partnership formed in 2008 to preserve and
revitalize Providence’s historic downtown core by transforming it into a lively,
cohesive and prosperous economic and cultural center through the development and
management of exceptional public spaces. As part of its mission, DPPC manages and
creates free public arts, cultural, educational, and recreational programs to engage
and build a diverse downtown community within the parks. The DPPC vision includes
the creation of a pedestrian-friendly environment, improving the RIPTA ridership
experience, bolstering economic well-being, encouraging tourism, and promoting arts
and culture. Public programming in Greater Kennedy Plaza transforms the public
spaces with concerts, festivals, and family programing. To learn more about DPPC
About The Avenue Concept – FESTIVAL COLLABORATOR
The Avenue Concept is named after the idea of an avenue- a space layered with
activity, and one that creates connections for people in their daily lives. We hope
to engage people of all ages- not just artists, but everyday people in creative
self-expression through Public Art, and support Providence in living up to its name
as the Creative Capital. To find out more about The Avenue Concept visit: