The First Annual “IonaFest,” hosted by the Art League of Rhode Island, will celebrate the life and legacy of Iona Dobbins, arts advocate and former executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and her contributions to the arts in Rhode Island. Each year, the event will be hosted by a different arts organization and represent varied arts disciplines, with the on-going goal of highlighting all art forms practiced in the state. Funds raised, will benefit the host organization in three categories: scholarship, program or operating expense.

“IonaFest” will begin with a public procession that will start at the Providence Performing Arts Center. In collaboration with Trinity Repertory Company and many others, a procession or New Orleans-style “second line” will wind its way through the downtown arts district to Westminster Street in Providence. Rhode Island and national artists and arts groups (including the Extraordinary Rendition Band (ERB); Folk Arts Fellowship winner Luyi Shao; the Chinese Lion Dance group; New Urban Arts; Washington, DC internationally acclaimed performer, Charles Williams; Project 401; musician Mark Taber,puppeteer Dan Butterworth, and youth performers from Festival Ballet will join the procession along with members of the public.

The procession will make its way towards Grant’s Block, near the Roots Cultural Center, with music, colorful umbrellas (Mardi Gras!), flowing fabrics, and dancing. Roots Cultural Center will be the venue for the main event, a celebratory party with music, dancing, and refreshments. “IonaFest” at Roots is a multifaceted event, including performances by internationally-acclaimed artists, live and silent auctions, libations, and culinary delights, and the presentation of the first “IF” Award.

Event Timeline:

3:30 Second Line Procession participants gather at the Providence Performing Arts Center. on Weybosset Street in downtown Providence. Rain or shine the procession will take place. Check this site for rain changes to venue location.
4:00 Procession proceeds towards downtown Providence
5:00-6:00 Second Line Procession culminates at Grant’s Park with entertainment
6:30-7:00 VIP Event featuring Charles Williams at Roots Cultural Center
7:00-9:00 IonaFestCelebration at Roots Cultural Center


Author: Tim Blankenship

I work on websites.

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