Summer is our favorite season at the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, and this summer may have been our favorite yet. On August 17, 2017, we cut the ribbon on Brandon’s Beach at Burnside Park. A playground that was over a year in the making, opened for the children of Providence. After only a few months, it feels like it’s been there forever. The positive impact it had on Burnside Park was felt immediately.
Providence children are a big motivator in the work that we do. Making our public spaces healthy and fun places for them to spend time with their friends and families is a driving force behind our work and an inspiration for the programs that we curate in Burnside Park throughout the summer.
So, what were we up to all summer?
Once again we partnered with KidoInfo to bring Storytime + Art in the Park back for another summer. This year at Storytime, we brought 9 different authors, illustrators, storytellers and musicians into the park and had big crowds of families every week. At Art in the Park, our resident Art-in-the-Parkist Ricky Katowicz created unique crafts each week with the summer theme, The Wonky World of Roald Dahl.
The DPPC also worked with a variety of groups for volunteer events, including groups from local Providence schools. These volunteer events beautify the park, build community and create a sense of ownership in our public spaces.
Each Tuesday during the Downtown Farmer’s Market we hosted Play in the Park on the the deck of the Imagination Center. Kids and families read in our open air reading room, enjoyed a performance by Festival Ballet, had fun with science with Miss Katie or one of our special guests. In fact, Play in the Park became so popular, we will continue running this free program through the month of October. Join us on Tuesdays from 3 – 6 pm on the deck of the Imagination Center. Program details are listed as events on our Facebook page.
None of these programs could be possible without the work of the entire DPPC team. From those out in the park all day, to those working behind the scenes up in the office, everyone’s hard work comes together to make these programs happens.
What did our staff think were highlights of the summer?
Our Assistant Director Geoff Kish always enjoys talking to student volunteers about the importance of green spaces in a city. His prepared introduction includes information about the urban wildlife that lives in our park. His favorite moment this summer? “It is definitely when I was telling a group of students about the Red-tailed Hawks that live in the park and, as if on cue, a hawk flew out of the tree behind the students, swooped down and caught a pigeon in his talons!”
Project Coordinator Kat Boots said her highlight was when Big Nazo came to Storytime. “It reminded me how cool and unique the City of Providence really is. We have these amazing artists that have become a part of our culture. I remember Big Nazo from when I was in Middle School and seeing them as an adult takes me right back to that same excitement.”
Our Communications Specialist Kristin Crane‘s highlight was the day the new playground opened. “After watching all the hard work that went into the planning, designing and building of the playground, it was so much fun seeing that ribbon cute and Providence kids pouring through the gates on opening day.” (There’s a video on the Projo website that perfectly captures the shrieks of joy.)
Our kids programming is always grateful to Anisa Raoof, our partner at KidoInfo. “My favorite part of the summer is connecting kids with Rhode Island storytellers – making books and stories come alive before their eyes and watching them ooh and ah and belly laugh!”
Cliff Wood, Executive Director of The Providence Foundation, summed up the season perfectly, “We’re so proud of the expanding popularity of our public programming and how it brings healthy vitality to our shared spaces. From the Burnside Music Series + Beer Garden, to our Farm Fresh RI Downtown Farmer’s Market, to the opening of the new Brandon’s Beach at Burnside Park playground. It’s been a wonderful season.”
Thanks to everyone who came out all summer! We love spending time together in the park.