Providence Stormwater Innovation Center to Host Rain Harvest Arts Festival at Roger Williams Park
A community celebration of water quality and habitat improvements
October 3, 2020; 9:00 am to 5:00 pm*
Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI
Festival Information at Boathouse Lawn
Free and Open to the Public
Providence, R.I. – Join a celebration of art, water and community at the Rain Harvest Arts Festival hosted by the Providence Stormwater Innovation Center in Roger Williams Park. This free community event celebrates the City of Providence’s investment in over 40 projects to clean polluted stormwater runoff before it enters the ponds in the park. Festivities will include work by local artists, tours of the Stormwater Innovation Center, and public engagement with a chalk art trail.
Indigenous artist Dawn Spears and artist and educator Andrew Oesch will paint sidewalk murals to highlight the importance and functions of two of the stormwater projects. Visitors can walk along a new blue dot trail that features nine stormwater projects, starting at the Dalrymple Boathouse lawn, around Roosevelt Lake, behind the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium and back to the Carousel. Park visitors can help decorate the trail with chalk provided at the Festival. Musician Phil Edmonds will perform 11:00 am to 1:00 pm as the asphalt in the park is transformed into colorful shapes and images.
The mysteries of how these stormwater structures capture rain and filter water pollution will be explained by Ryan Kopp, hydrologist and coordinator of the Providence Stormwater Innovation Center at 9:30 am and at 1:30 pm on the Boathouse lawn. Will Helt, a coastal restoration scientist with The Nature Conservancy, will be giving a demonstration on how community members and neighbors of the park can help track and identify cyanobacteria in the Roger Williams Park ponds.
Masks must be worn at all activities. Gloves will be supplied for all those who want to help decorate the trail. The festival is being held in conjunction with the Roger Williams Park Conservancy’s “Art for the People’s Park” celebration.
*Rain Date: Sunday, October 4, 2020; 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
About the Artists
Dawn Spears (Narragansett/Choctaw) is a doll maker, photographer, and multi-media artist, who uses cultural symbolism and the vibrant colors of our natural world as inspiration for her work. Sparked by the appearance of a hungry groundhog, and the lush plantings of cattails, joe pye-weed and other pollinator plants, Spears will paint her mural near a storm water project between the Japanese Gardens and Roosevelt Lake.
Andrew Oesch is an artist and educator who has conjured many thought-filled participatory art projects in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He looks forward to helping all participants understand how dirt cleans water and how their imaginations can help to address rain harvesting at home. Oesch will be working near a stormwater project behind the Museum of Natural History.
Holly Ewald, event organizer, is a community-engaged public artist who first learned about the toxic impacts of rainwater runoff while raising awareness about Mashapaug Pond. After leading 10 years of celebratory processions in honor of Mashapaug, she’s worked her way down the watershed to the Roger Williams Park Ponds. Ewald aims to inspire the public to imagine innovative ways that they can take part in cleaning the ponds that local wildlife depend on, and visitors enjoy.
Phil Edmonds, a musician, gardener, and author, has lived in South Providence for over 50 years since he emigrated from Ireland as a teenager. He’s often found playing music in public places, and helping out with community organizations and gardens. You can catch him playing his accordion along the blue dot trail midday of the festival.