June 16, 2021

Providence Stormwater Innovation Center to Host Rain Harvest Arts Festival

A Community Celebration of Water, Science, and Art

Posted

Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI
June 12, 2021; 2:00 to 6:00 pm*
Festival Information at Boathouse Lawn

Providence, R.I. (May 6, 2021) – Join a celebration of water, science and art at the second annual 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. The festival highlights the importance of clean water in our communities and the impact it has on our lives.

New for 2021, performances by internationally acclaimed storyteller Len Cabral, Narragansett storyteller and cultural educator Sherenté Harris, and spoken word poet Sussy Santana will engage and entertain audiences throughout the afternoon.

Artists, musicians, environmental scientists, local students and educators from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island share their inspirations and encourage public participation with music, chalk drawings, scavenger hunts, tours of stormwater projects hosted by the Stormwater Innovation Center, water testing demonstrations, and more! Red’s Food Truck and Atomic Blonde Ice Cream Van will be available near the Boat House from 4:00 – 7:00 pm for dining convenience in the park.

Also new this year, a stormwater-related mural will be created during the festival by the New Urban Arts program at Central High School (NUA Knights) in Providence.

In addition, a video will be available for viewing that documents recent student murals that combines science and art - all related to water quality - from NUA Knights, Sophia Academy in Providence, and Eden Park Elementary School in Cranston. These student mural projects have all been designed within storm drain areas and will raise public awareness on where stormwater goes, and how it effects natural habitat and the health of people and wildlife. Students worked with local teaching artists as well as educators from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and the Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership on these creative mural projects that combine water, science and art.

The festival will conclude at 5:30 pm with a performance finale by Lisa Abbatomarco by the Boat House Pond with music, celebration, and audience participation.

* The festival rain date will be June 13, 2021.

The Rain Harvest Arts Festival is sponsored by Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Wood Environmental, Horsley Witten Group, Restore America’s Estuaries, SNEP Network, Robbins De Beaumont Foundation.

For more information and a schedule of events visit: https://www.stormwaterinnovation.org/rainharvestartsfestival 

About the Artists
Andrew Oesch is the lead artist of the 2021 Rain Harvest Arts Festival. He is an artist and educator who has conjured many thought-filled participatory art projects. His work explores connecting to the habitat he lives in through community engagement, print-making, woodworking, and electronics. He looks forward to helping all participants understand how simple interventions can support healthy waters and how their imaginations can help to address rain harvesting at home.

Holly Ewald, event organizer, is a community-engaged public artist who first learned about the toxic impacts of rainwater runoff while raising awareness about the pollution in Mashapaug Pond. Ewald sees the Rain Harvest Arts Festival as a time to celebrate water and reexamine the natural gifts of our environment in hopes that the rest of the year we shift some habits to be better stewards of our home.

Len Cabral is an internationally acclaimed storyteller who has been enchanting audiences with his storytelling performances at schools, libraries, museums and festivals since 1976. A great grandson of a Cape Verdean whaler whose grandparents immigrated to America from the islands off the coast of West Africa, Len’s strong Cape Verdean ancestry comes alive in his exuberant performances.

Sherenté Harris intertwines the stories of his cultural path with his Two Spirit identity to evoke an emotion that sparks dialogue regarding ideologies that are too often silenced. Sherenté’s efforts oppose the prolonged issue of Indigenous Invisibility. Allowing his stories to manifest through writing, speaking, performance, and visual art, Sherenté can expand the audience of his message, educating and creating change within his communities. Sherenté attends Brown University and RISD.

Sussy Santana is a poet, performer, and cultural organizer born in the Dominican Republic. Her work explores the bi-cultural and bilingual experience through text and performance. Santana authored Pelo Bueno y otros poemas (2010), RADIO ESL a poetry cd (2012), and the chapbook Poemas Domésticos (2018). Her poems have been featured in various anthologies and magazines; she has coordinated La Feria, an artisan’s market in Providence, Rhode Island, since 2014.

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 with community organizations and gardens. You can catch him playing his flute serenade during the festival.

For a complete list of the artists participating in the Rain Harvest Arts Festival, please visit
https://www.stormwaterinnovation.org/rainharvestartsfestival 

About the Providence Stormwater Innovation Center
Roger Williams Park is home to the new Providence Stormwater Innovation Center (PSIC). The Innovation Center has been developed by a partnership between the City of Providence Parks Department, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension and the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center.

The goal of the PSIC is to demonstrate to communities throughout Rhode Island and Southeast New England strategies for improving urban water quality and associated wildlife habitat through innovative green stormwater practices. A wide range of green infrastructure has already been implemented in Roger Williams Park to reduce stormwater contaminants from entering the ponds and degrading water quality. The Stormwater Innovation Center provides hands-on training for municipal staff, engineers, construction companies, and scientists to learn from the successes and failures of their design, implementation, and maintenance.

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