my food site is weber_cam

July 16, 2005

Waterfire on the Mile premieres tonight

Across Spring Street from the Arena District, tonight premieres an interesting artistic installation that originated in Providence RI by Barnaby Evans (Linda Roehrenbeck was responsible for bringing the installation to Columbus). His Little bonfires will float along in the Scioto in the North Bank Park area tonight beginning at 9:15. A little past Frankie's bedtime, but we're going for it anyway, we hope she likes it. It will take place monthly through October. Should be fun. If I can, I'll put some photos up on flickr. Full story in The Other Paper this week.

Also, Waterfire on the Mile has it's own site.

They started a bit late and Frankie was getting pretty impatient so me missed most of it but here's a couple images from flickr. Keep and eye on this link, maybe they'll be more uploaded throughout the weekend. A great turnout though! North Bank Park was jammed.


Angela said...

I hate to take jabs at a free event, but this just wasn't what I was expecting. I thought there would be something emotional and momentous but it was really just fires on the water. I thought it was going to be more artistic.

Were the trains a part of the event? Did anything happen to the people on the bridge?

Anonymous said...

Hey Angela,
I have to agree. I wish I could've stayed longer but our problem was the attendees just didn't get it. They weren't supposed to pull up blankets and sit down the whole night but to WALK around. That was the whole premise of the Providence gig. Get people out and enjoying the city by walking around. Most attendees treated this like a fireworks display. We had a 2 year old in tow and had no choice but to keep moving - constantly. Everyone else (that didn't have youngsters) just sat and watched.

As for the art itself. Art's art, for me, it's something that grabs you or not. I didn't see enough to get a good vibe or not. I was kind of hoping for a little more motion to the installation; maybe some kind of floating pattern or something.

Anonymous said...

You should visit Providence and see what happens there on Waterfire nights. It is absolutely a walking event: the difference there is that there are little shops and stuff lining the canal. Street performers come out, gondolas float the canals, and it's like Gallery Hop on the water. It's really beautiful and it really revitalized downtown Providence. I hope this takes off for Columbus.

That said, I must say that I'm pessimistic. Waterfire in the canals with infrastructure, streets, sidewalks, and nearby restaurants is considerably different from Waterfire floating in the trash washed up on the banks of the Scioto, with nothing closer than the less-than-funky Arena District action. If I had been in charge of this, I think I would have waited until the plantings were done along the banks, I would have recruited way more street musicians (they're free, for heaven's sake), skipped the speeches and the silly torch march, and made sure the f***ing trash was scooped out of the water.

At least, after dark, you couldn't see the floating Pepsi bottles and blue plastic bags.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about everything you said. They needed more action (musicians, etc.) and far fewer speedhes (but I'm just biased because my 2-year old was bored by them) and we also thought the walk of fire was kind of silly.

And the trash was a disgrace. They better clean that up if they're gonna fill all those million dollar condos going up.

Anonymous said...

Well then maybe you guys can call the city Parks and Recreation Department and complain that they want to charge the WaterFire group a RENTAL fee of over $1700 to "open" the pavillion on WaterFire event evenings (and that was their "best" deal).
WaterFire is non-profit. The whole event is to revitalize downtown, but the City of Columbus still wants to profit off the event. Makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Good comments...I have been to all the WaterFire presentations and each has been unique. I stayed through the eve; other artists appeared throughout the park and moved through the crowd. The experience is very personal; the music has a psychology about it and delivers. You're correct about the lack of shops, and a motivation to walk, however, Providence (10 years ago) didn’t have the WaterFire Basin Park and other captivating areas along the canal, and the city was riddled with crime, gangs, and experiencing a continued economic decline. WaterFire is a catalyst for change and constructive development, in Providence, and in Columbus. WaterFire as an emergent art plans to move towards COSI; an organic process. The crowds will move between Bicentennial and North Bank Parks, with the same ease as experienced in Providence, commerce will follow. Let’s stick with this one…there is no magic to smart planning and economic growth, only time and hard work. The Columbus Partnership completed their research on comparable cities; Columbus, St. Louis, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc. we are painfully shy in support of Arts…dead last. Independent economic impact studies have demonstrated WaterFire is an undisputed success. During the 2004 season WaterFire Providence attracted over 1.1 million visitors to Providence. Stats; 57% of these visitors came from out-of-state and on average, WaterFire was 79% of the reason for their trip to Rhode Island. The direct economic impact of the 2004 WaterFire season is $33.2 million. The long-term total sales economic impact of the 2004 WaterFire season is $40.5 million when including the effects of the multiplier. This study only surveyed visitor spending during the evening event and in Providence and does not include additional spending during the day, elsewhere in the State or on subsequent days of a trip. Hats off to each of you for showing up, building a community one by one.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anonymous for your thoughtful comments. I haven't kept up on subsequent months but let's hope Waterfire accomplishes its goal even if it takes a couple years. I think you're right. If it takes off, the accompanying commerce should follow (shops, etc.).

Anonymous said...

OK I am really late to this post. I did not realize there already was one on the 31st of August.

I went twice in 2005. The first one and another. I loved it but I love staring into campfires and staring at water. The garbage floating at the edge of the Scioto was a little disconcerting. Then we saw it at First Night Columbus.. at COSI, that must have been December 31, 2005.

I was trying to figure out if it is at Northbank Park or if it is at COSI or if it is somewhere else on the river.

Dave said...

Hey Maureen, I have to get back to see it. I did enjoy it when I went. Frankie liked it too.