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State Arts Council Awards First Annual Arts in Tourism Award to WaterFire

In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week in Rhode Island, The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) awarded its first annual Arts in Tourism Award to WaterFire Providence at the recent Tourism Unity Luncheon in Warwick.

In announcing the award before a room full of tourism professionals, State Arts Council director Randall Rosenbaum applauded the WaterFire organization for becoming an “iconic symbol of our state.” He cited the popular public art installation for attracting hundreds of thousands of people to Providence, and for working cooperatively with the state and local tourism agencies to help make Rhode Island a destination for cultural travelers.

“We are delighted to honor WaterFire with our first annual Arts in Tourism Award,” said Rosenbaum. “WaterFire is a great example of how the arts attract visitors to our state, and contribute to our local economy.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be the first recipient of RISCA’s Arts in Tourism Award,” said Barnaby Evans, WaterFire Providence founder and executive artistic director. “WaterFire’s success is due to the extraordinary collaboration and support of so many others including our amazing volunteers, fellow arts organizations, sponsors, city and state officials, and many more. We are proud to share this award with all of them.”

In remarks at the Tourism luncheon, Rosenbaum quoted statistics from the Travel Industry Association of America that 81% of tourists who took a trip of 50 miles or more away from home could be considered “cultural tourists”. Studies show that cultural tourists are more frequent travellers, spend more money and are more likely to stay longer in one area than any other type of traveller, all important factors for our state’s travel and tourism industry.

In order to attract cultural tourists, more cooperation needs to be developed between the arts and tourism sectors. The RISCA Arts in Tourism award is designed to encourage and inspire greater levels of cooperation.

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency, supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. For more information:

WaterFire Providence® is an independent, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

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  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
  • Online:
  • Release date: 05-12-2011

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