...to be held Saturday, May 21, 10AM-1PM from Reservoir Avenue
to Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI
The Urban Pond Procession (UPP) returns to Providence this spring, on Saturday, May 21, (rain date May 22) to celebrate the protection of our Pawtuxet watershed and raise awareness about the history and health of the ecosystems in and around some of our city's most beloved ponds. Over 150 participants are expected in this year's procession, including school-aged children, artists, environmental groups, musicians, and more.
The UPP will begin at the boathouse at the southern tip of Mashapaug Pond, tucked behind Ocean State Job Lot—and wind its way through Reservoir and Elmwood neighborhoods to Roger Williams Park, mimicking the path of the water it celebrates.
Participation in UPP has expanded this year to include the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum community reflecting on the significance of Mashapaug Pond in their history and students from Community Prep who are making a public art fence to warn people not to swim in the pond or eat its fish. These two groups will start off the procession by giving presentations on the shores of Mashapaug Pond. Students at Sophia Academy and Nathan Bishop Middle school have been creating percussion instruments out of reclaimed materials to augment the venerable sounds of Providence's internationally recognized Extraordinary Rendition Band and What Cheer? Brigade who will be leading the procession from the Boat House and from Liberty Elm Diner, respectively. The procession, having been joined by Providence's own Big Nazo Puppets starting at Liberty Elm, will then pause at Roosevelt Lake at the entrance of Roger Williams Park around 11:15 am where nearby residents will share poems inspired by water and connections. Continuing on, the procession will march to the Temple to Music, its terminal stop, where the New England Drummers will be waiting to provide a triumphant welcome and segue into an enlightening speaking and performance program.
The entertainment portion is scheduled to include presentations by New England Native singers, Sophia Academy, Nathan Bishop after school "Build UPP the Beat" group, a play by Green Stage Program at The Met and the Hispanic United Development Organization (HUDO) Dance Academy. Representatives from the City of Providence and the State Departments of Health and Environmental Management will be present to speak about efforts underway to address the environmental conditions of the ponds as well. The festivities will conclude with free food donated by area restaurants and grocers.
In preparation for this year's procession, artists and concerned citizens from across the area came together to learn about environmental history of the Lower Pawtuxet Watershed and organize a series of in-depth art workshops meant to help educate the public about the issues facing the ponds. Additionally this year, UPP invited Loren Spears, Director of the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum to help inform UPP artists, educators and students about the sustainable ways of living with the land and waters her ancestors have espoused for centuries. Art and informational public workshops have been taking place throughout the city at local community events and gathering spots.
For more information and event updates, visit www.urbanpondprocession.org