Auguste Rodin's The Thinker would not have achieved timelessness had it gone by its alternative name, Man Thinking About Another Man Thinking About Multiplication Tables. Contribute to a more appropriately titled piece of art with today's Groupon: for $10, you get to put up your own Starry, Starry Night star lamp and two Luminaria candle lanterns at WaterFire Providence (a $20 value). Present your Groupon to the star-lamp table by the triangular grove of trees in Memorial Park next to Hemenway's Restaurant during any of the last three full lightings of WaterFire. This year's final lightings fall on August 14, August 28, September 11, September 25, and October 9. WaterFire Providence is an independent non-profit arts installation and all donations help to keep the fires burning.
Added to the WaterFire Providence exhibit by sculptor Barnaby Evans in 2009, Starry, Starry Night is a luminous display of 100 blue star lamps suspended like ornaments on the trees in Memorial Park. Add to this effulgent exhibit of public art with your own blue lamp, which you can hang and to which you can attach a ribbon with a personalized wish, such as "world peace" or "Monkey, stop scratching me." Additionally, you'll place two Luminaria candle lanterns directly underneath your bluish beacon, each containing special dedication cards.
Starry, Starry Night is just one aspect of the WaterFire sculpture on the rivers of downtown Providence, where 100 bonfires set the serene waters aglow and produce the sweet scent of wood smoke. Since its inception in 1994, WaterFire has hosted more than 10 million artistically intrigued visitors and helped transform downtown Providence from an area littered with washed-up super-villains into the vibrant community it is now.
Subject to weather conditions and cancellations.
The Washington Post's Carlo Rotella wrote about his experience at WaterFire, and USA Today featured the event. Yelpers give WaterFire an average of 3.5 stars, and TripAdvisors named it the #5 attraction in Providence, giving it an average of four owl eyes:
- I am seized by a heightened sense of city-ness – of a great crush of humanity, the living as well as the ghosts of the dead, all gathered in one place by the water, their desires and labors and cares shaped by Providence and shaping it in turn. The upwelling of feeling resonates in the buildings, the bridges, the curve of the river, the faces of the people gazing at the fires. I see that they feel it, too. Everything else that isn’t this feeling seems to evanesce and lift away, like wood turned to smoke. – Carlo Rotella, Washington Post
- By far, Providence’s Waterfire is one of the best kept secrets in New England. Although word has spread since its inception, every year it improves-significantly. – Writing Maven, TripAdvisor
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