Interns in the Photobooth, photograph by Amy Lavigne

Anna: Coming back my junior year at school in New York City, I wanted to get back in-touch with my inner Rhode Islander. I missed the salty waters of the Narragansett Bay, the familiarity of my home town, and most of all, the creative atmosphere of Providence. When offered an internship at WaterFire, I was ecstatic and immediately accepted. I was so ready to be a part of an event so unique to Rhode Island, something that I’ve been going to since I was little, and something that promoted community and artistry.

I can sincerely say that I’ve found what I was looking for at WaterFire. Since starting, I feel significantly more in touch with my community, my state, and the arts here in Rhode Island. More importantly I’ve also found that I love being a part of a company that gives back to residents and visitors of our wonderful state. It’s gratifying to walk down the Providence River during a lighting and see people ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the floating fires. I love walking through Marketplace Square and stopping in all the tents to see local artists and local companies. I have the best job at events– walking around and taking pictures of the fires, the Starry, Starry Night installation, the basin, etc. WaterFire has helped me to re-visit my Rhode Island heritage, explore the state, and has made me appreciate my community in a whole new way. It’s exactly what I was looking for as I head into my last year of college. From here I hope to continue working for festivals and in the arts, as I have found that this kind of work is right up my ally. Sure, it’s not super glamorous to be taking down tents and cleaning up trash at 2 AM, but that gets pushed to the back of my mind when I feel the excited energy of the crowd and the heat of the fires coming from the river. It’s helped me find my way throughout this summer, which is a feeling way greater than anything else.

Amy: Growing up in Rhode Island, WaterFire has always been a huge part of the identity of Providence and the state as a whole for me, so when I was given the chance to intern here in the social media and photography departments for the summer, I jumped at the opportunity, anticipating a challenging but rewarding experience that would prepare me for the future. Thankfully, my initial thoughts about the upcoming internship were absolutely correct.

As someone who normally goes to bed around 10 pm every night, staying up until 3 am on event days is incredibly challenging, but with all the hard work that goes into preparing for and cleaning up from an event comes the amazing experiences during the fires that remind me that all the work is worth it. Whether I am sitting in the WaterFire Connect tent answering visitors’ questions, working in the new photo-booth or walking around and taking photos, seeing the expressions of wonder on visitors faces as they take in the glowing koi fish on the river during Clear Currents, watching kids and adults alike excitedly interact with performers and seeing families being silly in the photo-booth reminds me of all the good that WaterFire does.  Good that impacts both the city of Providence and the visitors who come to experience an art installation, and walk away realizing that they have actually experienced magic.

The people that I have met through this internship and the memories that I have made so far are even more wonderful than I had anticipated going into this experience, and I can’t wait to see what WaterFire has in store next.

-Anna and Amy, WaterFire Social Media Interns

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