Governor McKee and Secretary Tanner Announce Recipients of Placemaking Initiative Mini Grants

Governor Dan McKee and Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner today announced the recipients of the latest mini grant awards under the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s Placemaking Initiative. The initiative is a statewide effort to support businesses in the tourism and hospitality industries, with a focus on events and activities held outdoors or in public spaces during the summer months.

The grants, totaling $290,000, will fund a range of initiatives across the state, from family-friendly events to cultural celebrations. The awardees include organizations from cities and towns throughout Rhode Island, including East Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Cranston, Providence, Federal Hill, Newport, and Warren.

“We are proud to announce these awards for events that celebrate Rhode Island’s rich history, arts, and culture,” said Governor Dan McKee. “We know that when we bring people together in our communities across the state, we showcase all that makes the Ocean State so great and empower our cities and towns to succeed.”

The Placemaking Initiative was established in 2022 with federal funding from the American Rescue Plan. To date, it has awarded $2.9 million to projects that have helped to grow Rhode Island’s tourism and hospitality industries.

“These grants are an investment in keeping our communities vibrant, providing Rhode Islanders and visitors opportunities to come together and experience the best our state has to offer,” said Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner.

Among the awardees are three organizations from East Providence, which will receive a total of $41,666 in funding for events including a July 14th intertribal pow wow and eight cultural feasts throughout the summer months.

“We are excited to be a recipient of these Placemaking Initiative grant awards,” said East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva. “Thank you to our Governor Dan McKee and Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner for their continued support. We have worked tirelessly since the Washington Bridge closure to support our city and its businesses, and these grants will help us continue to enrich our community’s heritage, history, and culture.”

Other notable awardees include the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, which will create a “Pirates Lair” at Central Falls Landing; the City of Pawtucket, which will host a Cape Verdean Festival as part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival; and WaterFire Providence, which will host an annual WaterFire Clear Currents Community Paddling Night on August 3.

The full list of Placemaking Initiative summer 2024 mini grant recipients is as follows:

Blackstone Valley Tourism Council ($25,000)
To support creating a “Pirates Lair” at Central Falls Landing for family fun and educational purposes on Saturday afternoons for fourteen (14) weeks from July – October 2024. Participants can board the riverboat Explorer for demonstrative pirate tours.

City of Central Falls ($30,000)
To support various summer events including Youth Kayaking, Salsa Nights, Fourth of July Celebration, Car Show, and Food Truck Fest in the City of Central Falls.

City of East Providence 1 ($16,666)
To support the July 14th intertribal pow wow in the City of East Providence.

City of East Providence 2 ($25,000)
To support eight cultural feasts within the City of East Providence during the summer months. The events will occur between May – October 2024.

City of Pawtucket ($25,000)
To support the Cape Verdean Festival as part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival.

Cranston Cares ($20,000)
To support the creation of the “Night Market” series which will serve as a venue for local arts, crafts, and foods during the summer months.

Downtown Providence Park Network ($20,000)
To support “Meet Me Downtown: A Music Series in Burnside Park ” which includes a concert series, beer gardens, wine tastings, family-friendly activities, crafts, storytelling, and STEM activities for children.

Federal Hill Commerce Association ($25,000)
To support two overlapping events: (1) A 7-week Al Fresco on Federal Hill featuring outdoor dining, shopping, and music festival; and (2) Summer Festival for dining, shopping, and music.

Festival Ballet Providence ($20,000)
To support free or donation-based performances featuring live music with Aurea Ensemble at the Temple to Music in Roger Williams Park and the creation of a temporary outdoor performing arts venue.

FirstWorks ($20,000)
To support the expansion of the FirstWorks Summer Beats concert series in South Providence and Roger Williams Park. Includes concerts, street performers, food trucks, and activation of nearby attractions, libraries, and museums.

Newport Contemporary Ballet ($20,000)
To support the five-day Newport Dance Festival that is marketed as genre-defying contemporary dance. Food trucks will be available on the premises.

Roger Williams Park Conservancy ($30,000)
To support the Kick-off to Fall Weekend in Roger Williams Park which includes a signature live-music evening concert, an interactive art installation, and extends food truck offerings through the weekend. The anticipated weekend for this event is the last weekend of September.

The Crescent Park Carousel Preservation Association ($18,225)
To support five events: (1) Summerfest; (2) The Great Townie Pumpkin Festival; (3) Trunk or Treat; (4) Movies in the Park; and (5) an additional event to be announced at a later date.

The Empowerment Factory ($20,000)
To support the 8th Annual Healthy Living Community Event (HLCE), an extension of the Pawtucket Arts Festival on Saturday, September 7, 2024. The HLCE includes a Baldwin Loop Walking Path Scavenger Hunt, vendors, installations, yoga and fitness coaches, family activities, petting zoo, and ice cream.

Town of Warren ($20,000)
To support the Town of Warren’s annual summer events at Burr’s Hill Park which includes: (1) Summer Outdoor Concert Series; (2) Summer Outdoor Movie Series; and (3) Community Take it Outside Night.

WaterFire Providence ($30,000)
To support the annual WaterFire Clear Currents Community Paddling Night on August 3, 2024. Event to celebrate the return of aquatic life to the rivers of Providence.

For more information on the Placemaking Initiative and its awardees, please visit




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