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NEA grant to support effort to build “cultural corridor” along Washington Street

Washington Street

Washington Street. Photo (cc) Sean_Marshall.

From the City of Providence:


Mayor Angel Taveras, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and FirstWorks announced yesterday that the City of Providence will receive a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant. The $75,000 grant will support a community design effort to create a cultural corridor in downtown Providence along Washington Street, and to establish the FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza as a biennial signature event in Providence.

The city’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and cultural partner FirstWorks will use the award to continue the transformation of Kennedy Plaza, a key component of Mayor Taveras’ economic development action plan, Putting Providence Back to Work.

The Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and FirstWorks, in partnership with the Downtown Providence Park Conservancy, will lead a coalition from the arts, business and civic sectors to further the cultural activation of Kennedy Plaza.

For the 2014 FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza, scheduled for September 20, Downtown Providence and Kennedy Plaza will be transformed into a multi-stage venue, with performances and installations along Washington Street and the internationally-acclaimed Waterfire on the Providence River.

The FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza will be an exciting global mash-up of public art interventions and performances by world-renowned artists, leading Providence artists and cultural organizations, such as the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and the Brown University/Trinity Repertory MFA Programs, along with guest artists in-residence.

The initiative will take the Kennedy Plaza transformation efforts down Washington Street to create a cultural corridor that promotes pedestrian use and enhances Providence’s livability by animating vacant and underutilized spaces with cultural activity.

In advance of the 2014 Festival, design planning activities will create programming linkages in a downtown cultural corridor that includes the River Walk, Kennedy Plaza and Washington Street – a major transit artery and home to AS220, Trinity Repertory Company, restaurants, shops and hotels. These spaces, all adjacent to Kennedy Plaza, will be activated with programming during the September 2014 FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza.

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