The Biggest PVDFest Yet

The city's signature summer arts festival will be branching out beyond downtown when it returns June 1-4


There’s nothing quite like a festival and once again, PVDFest is looking like the standard bearer for the season. Over the last couple of years, PVDFest has brought exciting national and international artists, performers and musicians to share downtown stages with Rhode Island’s deep pool of homegrown talent. Art from the very first year still punctuates downtown, like the Seen/Unseen portraits by Providence photographer Mary Beth Meehan and the murals painted by European artists Nicholas Platzer, Etam Cru and Natalia Rak. Other moments, like when the Superman Building was turned into a harp or concerts were staged at the Ruins next to the Arcade, have defined our expectations. This year, with a focus on highlighting local talent and expanding beyond the borders of Downcity, PVDFest is looking to be bigger than ever.

The headlining piece of PVDFest (June 1-4) will be #PVDPublicCanvas, a community-driven performance curated by poet and storyteller Christopher Johnson. Along with other Providence-based artists, he will be working in collaboration with Bandaloop, an internationally renowned vertical dance troupe. The 15-person team will turn one of downtown’s buildings into a stage for high-flying choreography set to live music and spoken word from local performers.

In addition to art and music, food will share the spotlight through a pop-up version of the Ocean State Oyster Festival and the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative’s Global Food Village. If you’re looking to go full Inception, The Dean Hotel will be throwing a festival within a festival at its Moon Market block party, featuring a craft market and art displays.

One of the most exciting things about this year’s PVDFest is its expansion into other parts of the city. This year, AS220 will be participating by hosting a Maker Faire for a family-friendly demonstration of STEAM at work. A tour will take guests to the Woonasquatucket River Corridor to share some insight into the area’s growing innovation district, and the West Side will close out the weekend with Cranston Street Armory Animated by Art, the first in a series of music and art pop-ups in the neighborhood.