FirstWorks and Providence's Department of Art, Culture + Tourism to Celebrate Ten Years of Partnership with Urban Carnavale, 7/20

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FirstWorks and Providence's Department of Art, Culture + Tourism to Celebrate Ten Years of Partnership with Urban Carnavale, 7/20

FirstWorks and the City of Providence today announced the line-up of artists from across the globe for the FirstWorks Urban Carnevale. The Urban Carnevale is a celebratory evening of music, spectacle, art, and food capping four days of activities celebrating FirstWorks 10th Anniversary. The free public celebration brings the world to Providence with never-seen-here-before performances from Australia, Italy, Morocco, Mali, and Rhode Island on Saturday, September 20, 2014, starting at 5:00 PM in Providence's City Center, Kennedy Plaza.

The FirstWorks Urban Carnevale turns all eyes to the night sky with Australia's Strange Fruit, a troupe of daredevils suspended high above the crowd within illuminated globes; fires up the night with ancient rhythms and wild dance by Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, new generation masters of southern Italy; and introduces the exotic gypsy spirit of Morocco with the funk/jazz blend of Ribab Fusion, the Berber culture's one-string answer to the legacy of Jimi Hendrix. This not-to-be-missed party also features a rare North American appearance by charismatic Malian singing sensation Oumou Sangare? (presented in collaboration with Providence's Afrika Nyaga 6th Annual Festival); and 100 voices joining in a preview of RPM Voices' RI-Sounding Voices, a harmonic convergence of choruses from across Rhode Island.

Audiences will feast their eyes on visual arts from Providence's The Avenue Concept, a top emerging arts organization marrying public art and civic concerns, watch Tape Art transform a building facade, express their deepest hopes and dreams in a pre-Carnevale creative and spiritual ritual with The Providence Peace Flags Project, and marvel at FirstWorks Rising Stars, young virtuosos performing their cultural traditions.

"The City of Providence is proud to celebrate 10 years of partnership with FirstWorks, a leading arts organization in our state," said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. "The FirstWorks Urban Carnevale kicks off a year-long effort that will culminate in the FirstWorks Festival On The Plaza 2015, made possible by an NEA Our Town grant that recognizes Providence's arts community as a national leader."

The FirstWorks Urban Carnevale caps a weekend of events celebrating the non-profit arts organization's 10th anniversary, and launches FirstWorks' 2014-15 season - a year of arts programming which concludes in June 2015 with the next FirstWorks Festival On The Plaza, also co-presented with the City of Providence. The Carnevale and Festival On The Plaza 2015 have received leading support from a National Endowment for the Arts "Our Town" grant, The City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, the Rhode Island Foundation and GTECH. Additional support is provided by Bank of America and Providence Tourism Council.

"This will be the birthday party of a lifetime!" said Kathleen Pletcher, executive artistic director of FirstWorks. "There is an amazing creative combustion between international artists, stellar local partners, and the arts - transforming Providence's central plaza into a vital town square for all to gather. We are grateful to the many arts, business and civic partners who have joined with us to celebrate what marks a triple 10th anniversary for FirstWorks, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, and a truly unique, sustained public/private partnership between our two organizations."

"The Urban Carnevale is an exemplar of the extraordinary creative collaboration that is fast becoming the hallmark and the future of Providence," said Lynne McCormack, Director, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism. "We are drawing on ten years of partnership to build the FirstWorks Festival On The Plaza as Providence's biennial, signature tourism event. We have amazing momentum and a track record of success behind using the arts as an engine for growth and growing the city as a creative community."

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