Brown and Providence Communities Unite for WaterFire Lighting Late October


Jacob Salguero, a first-year student at North Providence High School who aspires to become a veterinarian, appreciated the opportunity to learn about various medical tools. “I loved practicing with the sphygmomanometer.”

Variety of students and community artists

Tonight’s events weren’t all about medical education. After a torch-lighting ceremony in which members of the Brown community gathered in the Providence River Basin to help light the night fires, the university hosted guest tents for Brown’s parents and families in Market Square, members of the Warren Albert Medical School community on Washington Street, and alumni leaders on College Street.

The evening also included a variety of public performances and events involving student organizations from Brown University. A cappella shows filled the streets with music from Ursa Minors and Shades of Brown, as well as Beauty and the Beats, a band performing Disney songs. DAEBAK K-Pop, who performs K-pop, has joined other dance shows, including Brown Salsa Club.

For musicians and Brown University students Chance Emerson, Satch Waldman and Jack Riley, the opportunity to perform at WaterFire Providence was a homecoming of sorts. From September 27 to October 8, they travel to music venues up and down the East Coast as the opening act for the popular Blues Traveler. Saturday’s roster was a little shorter, but fans were just too excited to welcome an act based on Brown making waves at the national level.

Emerson – a dual center in computer science and archaeology – said his music is closely linked to his experience in Brown and the city he calls home.

“I write, record, and produce everything here in Providence,” Emerson said. “I work with my best friends, and my bandmates are my housemates. I learned a lot about music production through my courses. I wouldn’t have toured if I hadn’t gone to this school. And we wouldn’t make that kind of music if we didn’t become a part of this community.”

Other groups that appeared during the night festivities included Art4ServiceIt is a student organization that creates art for the public good. This term, students work with Sojourner House, a non-profit organization that helps people affected by domestic violence, to design and paint a mural that promotes healthy relationships; Previously, they created coloring pages for pediatric patients at Miriam Hospital.

On Saturday, more than 20 Brown University students from Art4Service led a live painting event to capture WaterFire scenes throughout the evening. Brown University sophomore Sarah Wong, co-chair of Art4Service, was eager to try to paint the scene in real time: “This is the first time I’ve ever sat down with an easel to paint a live scene,” she said. “When I paint, I usually look at a picture online or a picture, but it’s exciting to be here and capture everything.”

Throughout the night, throngs of visitors stopped along the city’s illuminated lanes to admire the fire dancers, tiko drummers, origami artists, and even stone gargoyles unexpectedly leaped to life.

Local artist Brian Bigelow led a glassblowing show in which he used a torch to melt and shape rods of glass into smaller objects. Studio based on Providence collect the glass It offers introductory glassblowing lessons where students aged 8 and up can make ornaments, paperweights, vases, pint cups and bowls. Studio founder and fellow glass artist Benjamin Geiger said bringing flame art to WaterFire is central to Gather Glass’s mission to connect with the local community through art.

“Our name embodies our identity,” Geiger said. “The Gathering is a symbol of bringing people together, and the glass artists at Gather have led demonstrations at WaterFire for 12 years. We respect what WaterFire offers to the Providence community, the state, and the people. I tell everyone that you must go to at least one WaterFire in your life. It is a uniquely engaging experience. for the soul.”


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