WaterFire Wins First RI Arts in Tourism Award
Saturday, May 14, 2011
WaterFire continues to be an enduring and much beloved Rhode Island tradition. And this week, the iconic outdoor art installation was formally recognized by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) with its first ever Arts in Tourism Award.
RISCA director Randall Rosenbaum applauded WaterFire for becoming an “iconic symbol of the state,” which had attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists over the years. The council seeks to bring art into the lives of Rhode Islanders by providing grants, technical assistance, and staff support to artists, schools, community centers, and other creative organizations. The new RISCA Arts in Tourism award is specifically designed to encourage and inspire greater levels of cooperation between the arts and tourism sectors.
WaterFire Founder Barnaby Evans
In accepting the award, Barnaby Evans, the founder and executive artistic director of WaterFire, emphasized how essential cooperation was to WaterFire’s success. “WaterFire’s success is due to the extraordinary collaboration and support of so many others," he said, "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.”
He then went on to speak about the crucial role that the arts play in attracting “cultural tourists” to the state. Citing statistics from the Travel Industry Association of America, he pointed out that 81% of tourists traveling 50 miles or more could be considered “cultural tourists” and that these travelers tend to spend more money and stay longer in one area than other types of travelers.