Pawtucket Arts Festival celebrating 20th anniversary

Pawtucket Arts Festival celebrating 20th anniversary

PAWTUCKET – The 20th Anniversary Pawtucket Arts Festival will bring a month of art and festive fun to the city, with downtown businesses, museums, and restored mills providing the scene, and Slater Memorial Park also sharing the spotlight.

Two decades of Pawtucket Arts Festival history catalogs the contributions made by artists, businesses, the city of Pawtucket, and the city’s cultural community. Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races, fine artists in residential studios, restaurants offering culinary creations, music in the streets and dancing by the Blackstone River “have convinced a multicultural, multigenerational, and multi-genre arts community that Pawtucket’s artists, audiences, and civic leaders are poised to applaud the festival’s 20-year run and to raise the curtain on the next decade,” states a release.

Scheduled to run Sept. 1-30, the 20th Anniversary PAF will feature debut performances and arts encores that honor the festival’s legacy, while charting its future cultural course, according to Director Jennifer Dalton Vincent.

Among the events slated for the September schedule that demonstrate this “decades by design” look back and look ahead at Pawtucket’s arts community is Downtown Rising on Saturday, Sept. 22, from noon to 7 p.m.

PAF and Downtown Rising welcome back an encore of the popular “Rocktucket” street music festival last showcased several years ago. Rebranded Rocktucket Music Invitational, the daylong event “restores the innovative, multi-genre and all-ages music festival dedicated to celebrating the spirit of Pawtucket,” according to organizers. It will include a special stage devoted to folk music.

Making its debut in partnership with Downtown Rising is Culture Shock Block Party. Through the medium of message-positive hip hop and related performance, the Block Party, just off the downtown Main Street, will offer a multi-genre, outdoor concert event aimed at bridging generations and cultures.

With music as the medium to unite the city’s contemporary cultures, the producers of Culture Shock look to the Pawtucket Arts Festival as the driver for a city-wide “family reunion” with music as the main destination on the map.

Culture Shock Block Party will offer a “get to know your neighbor” great time, organizers say, in collaboration with Beatbox Studio, Vibe Lounge, and numerous Pawtucket civic organizations.

A debut performance, specifically designed to honor the Pawtucket Arts Festival’s 20th anniversary, will be LIVING: The Arts in Pawtucket. Funded by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts in its most recent round of awards, the performance gets high marks from the grant panel for its exciting design.

Inspired by the work of TEN31 Productions, nationally known for their performance art featuring living sculpture, and their Metamorphosis Dance Company, LIVING will use the medium of dance, fashion, music, and other arts genres to reveal stories of local artists and their audiences, through live vignette performance.

PAF, TEN31 Productions, and Metamorphosis Dance Company will collaborate with the students and directors of the Annual Shea High School Fashion Show to create LIVING: The Arts of Pawtucket in performance.

Anticipated at each year’s Pawtucket Arts Festival is an encore performance that never fails to earn a standing ovation: the Slater Park Fall Festival and R.I. Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Pops in the Park,” scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9. 

The annual display of fine art, artisan work, and crafts is sponsored by the Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance and Rhode Island College, with fireworks provided through the Bristol County Savings Bank.

The 20th Anniversary Pawtucket Arts Festival is sponsored by the city of Pawtucket, its Department of Planning and Redevelopment, Departments of Public Works and Public Safety, and the Arts Grant Review Panel.

Funding is provided by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Major sponsors such as Collette Travel, Hasbro, Navigant Bank, Partridge, Snow, and Hahn, Pawtucket Credit Union, Rhode Island College, and Tufts Health Plan help make PAF possible.

Check out event listings, dates, times and locations at www.pawtucketartsfestival.org .