PROVIDENCE, RI –(September 13, 2012) Mayor Angel Taveras, WaterFire Artistic Director Barnaby Evans and GTECH Senior Vice President Bob Vincent announced today that WaterFire, Providence’s signature event, will expand to Rome, Italy with an inaugural lighting of 30 braziers on the Eternal City’s historic Tiber River.
This is the first large-scale lighting of WaterFire in Europe. At the invitation of Rome’s Mayor Gianni Alemanno, Mayor Taveras will travel to Rome for the inaugural lighting of WaterFire Rome. Italian Consul General Giuseppe Pastorelli who recently lit a WaterFire in Providence, joined the Mayor for the press conference.
“WaterFire has established Providence as a global city. Greater Travel has ranked WaterFire, along with Paris at nightfall, among its greatest destinations after dark in the world,” said Mayor Taveras. “I am excited to bring our signature event to a global and historic city like Rome and look forward to sharing our comeback story with our friends in Italy’s capital city.”
WaterFire Rome will be staged with the help of volunteers from Rome and Providence, including students attending the Rhode Island School of Design’s Rome program. The WaterFire is sponsored by Lottomatica, GTECH’s holding company, and the City of Rome. The WaterFire lightings on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22 will include an iteration of Robert Hammonds Chance Encounters installation and a dance installation by Linda Foster.
“I am delighted that after years of working on this we are now sharing WaterFire with Rome—the Eternal City—a city that was founded on the river Tiber nearly three thousand years ago,” said Barnaby Evans. “WaterFire deals with our ancient fascination with the interplay of firelight and water. I cannot think of a more magical place to introduce WaterFire to Europe. It is a great testament to the strength of Providence’s art and design community. I would like to thank GTECH and Lottomatica and the City of Rome for their support in making this possible. And I owe a huge thank you to the Mayor and City of Providence for all their support and to all the volunteers, staff, board members, sponsors, donors who have helped make WaterFire such an astonishing success. We are dedicating ourselves to building WaterFire’s future right here in Providence.”
“GTECH and Lottomatica are pleased to be able to bring one of Providence’s iconic artistic events, WaterFire, to Rome. It is our hope that by doing so, a bridge will be formed that will help encourage closer cultural and business links between the two cities,” said Bob Vincent.
WaterFire has been recognized, alongside Paris at nightfall and the night markets of Taiwan, as one of the world’s greatest destinations after dark. More than 15 million people have attended a Providence WaterFire and the showcase was recently one of only 47 organizations across the country to receive an ArtPlace Creative Placemaking grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
While in Italy, Mayor Taveras and Providence Economic Development Director Jim Bennett will meet with Italian business leaders and global investors. Mayor Taveras has also scheduled an official meeting with Mayor Alemanno.
Earlier this year, Italian Consul General Giuseppe Pastorelli and his wife lit WaterFire in Providence. Work to bring WaterFire to Rome started years ago and continued during then-Mayor David N. Cicilline’s term as part of discussions between the two cities to establish a cultural exchange. Mayor Taveras lauded Mayor Cicilinne’s work to strengthen Providence’s position as a global destination.
Taxpayer dollars will not be used to fund any part of this trip. Sistema Gioco Italia (Confindustria), an Italian trade association, has offered to sponsor the Providence delegation’s travel. Out of an abundance of caution, Mayor Taveras is asking the State Ethics Commission to provide counsel on whether the City’s delegation can accept the association’s offer for travel reimbursements.