The inaugural Rain Harvest Arts Festival at Roger Williams Park’s Stormwater Innovation Center is a community celebration of the City of Providence’s investment in over 40 projects to clean polluted stormwater runoff before it enters the Park’s ponds.
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 new blue dot trail that features 9 stormwaters projects from 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.
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.
Masks must be worn to attend 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” campaign.
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, Dawn has chosen to paint her mural near a stormwater project between the Japanese Gardens and Roosevelt Lake.
Andrew Oesch is an artist 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 them see ways to address rain harvesting at home. Andrew will be working near a stormwater project behind the Museum of Natural History.
Holly Ewald, is a community engaged public artist who first learned about the toxic impacts of rainwater runoff from our streets while raising awareness about Mashapaug Pond. After 10 years of celebratory processions in honor of Mashapaug, she’s worked her way down the watershed to the Roger Williams Park Ponds. Here she hopes to inspire everyone to imagine innovative ways they can be part of cleaning the ponds that we, and all the creatures that call them home, love.
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.