Artists to Unveil New Artwork at River Celebration

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Woonasquatucket River Celebrates its 10th Year as an American Heritage River

"Passage" by Will Machin

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Two local artists are set to show new public artworks at the Woonasquatucket River’s celebration and holiday party. The event will mark the tenth year since the Woonasquatucket was designated an American Heritage River, and will be celebrated on Friday, December 12, 2008 at 5:30 p.m. at the Plant in Olneyville, Providence.

Artist Will Machin will unveil his newly completed multi-panel history of the river, told in the materials of the riverbanks. The work, to be placed at the Woonasquatucket’s first “fish ladder”, was constructed from glass, stone, asphalt, and miniature brick. Titled “Passage,” the work celebrates the river as a life force strong enough to be a natural resource and an economic engine, and to remain a viable ecosystem.

An iconic monument by artist Gillian Christy will also be revealed. “The Return Home” has been installed near downtown Providence and depicts a school of fish teeming upstream over the Woonasquatucket. The stainless steel sculpture symbolizes the circle of life, the river’s connection to the ocean, and the ongoing restoration of the Woonasquatucket.

Since its national designation as an American Heritage River in 1998, the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC) has accomplished much in the way of the organization’s mission. Following the American Heritage River Alliance’s goals of river restoration, sustainability, and cultural preservation, the WRWC has restored 52 acres of industrial land to parkland, built the first off-road bike path in Providence, and set in motion plans to open historic spawning grounds to ocean-going fish, amongst other things.

The new artwork is a big step in the WRWC’s achievements towards cultural preservation. The commemoration is a meaningful way to celebrate the transformation of the greenway with murals, sculptures, banners, and signs created by local artists.

About American Heritage Rivers Alliance

In 1997 Executive Order 13061 designated American Heritage Rivers to be named in perpetuity. In 2007 the rivers became an Alliance (AHRA) with a threefold mission of natural resource and environmental protection; economic revitalization; and historic and cultural preservation. Charged with fulfilling the rivers’ missions are executive officers of each river, called Navigators; they are not empowered to act until requested by their local communities. That key restriction ensures AHRA will never be a federal bureaucracy. The Alliance is a permanent member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) composed of directors or assistant secretaries of 16 federal agencies that regularly meet in the White House to cut through federal red tape. The CEQ allows AHRA to provide access to federal multi-agency partnerships and to leverage federal dollars. Currently, AHRA is seeking Charter Benefactors for permanent endowments. Charter Benefactors receive permanent scalable returns on their Corporate Responsibility investments.

AHRA President Vincent Tamagna can be reached at 845-265-7000.


Ms. Megan McConville

Phone: 845-265-7000 Fax 845-231-4061


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