Fifth annual ‘The Looff: East Providence Arts Festival’ approaches in East Providence

New layout, added events highlight noteworthy anniversary outing

By Mike Rego
Posted 8/8/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — The momentous fifth annual edition of “The Looff: East Providence Arts Festival,” sponsored by the East Providence Arts Council, takes place Saturday, Aug. 10, from 11 a.m.-6 …

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Fifth annual ‘The Looff: East Providence Arts Festival’ approaches in East Providence

New layout, added events highlight noteworthy anniversary outing

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The momentous fifth annual edition of “The Looff: East Providence Arts Festival,” sponsored by the East Providence Arts Council, takes place Saturday, Aug. 10, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. over the grounds of the Crescent Park Carousel and Larisa Park in Riverside featuring the return of favorites and an extension of the program offerings.

Admission is free. Also, parking at the former Oldham Elementary School located on Bullocks Point Avenue, is free with shuttle bus service provided to the festival site.

According to festival director and Arts Council member Rick Lawson, “The Looff” is just one element of the council’s efforts to “make the city a thriving arts community.”

He continued, “In the last couple of years we have seen the Bold Point Concert venue come to be as well as the HeArtspot Art Gallery and the Watchemocket Sculpture Garden and that is just the beginning. In the coming year the Arts Council is working hard to create a performing arts/cultural space as well as more public art in the form of sculptures and murals.”

Back to this year’s “The Looff,” Mr. Lawson said it’s “shaping-up to be the best one yet.” A new, “dynamic” layout, interactive artists and a food court await this year’s patrons. In an effort to “embrace and embody the values” of the artists, artisans, makers, authors and community partners participating in “The Looff” this year, they will be arranged along the Crescent Park walking paths, “so no one will go unnoticed,” Mr. Lawson noted. In addition, the lower field will feature a new food court and tented area for patrons to cool-down or escape the possible shower and enjoy some of the local musical talent.

Some 110 artists, artisans, makers, authors and community partners are expected to participate this year. Included among them are nationally recognized and award-winning graffiti artist Paul Morse, who will be creating some of his artwork; artists Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon and Brandt Valcourt will be creating new works

live as well; and Paul Olson will be doing a live ceramics demonstration.

Saturday’s live musical performances include Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame inductee Neal & the Vipers, Scarlett and the Supermags.

Talented young actors from the East Providence Mohawks Theatre program will also be performing. Holly and the Sacred Flame belly dancers return along with the ever-popular Big Nazo puppets. Also, Providence Folk Festival musicians will be on hand to give patrons a sneak peak of what the Providence Folk Festival will look and sound like this year now that it has moved to Crescent Park. Of note as well, storyteller Mark Kohler and Circus Artist Marvin Novogrodski are back again.

Among the food offerings Saturday is the festival debut of Union Burritos. Union Burrito is an offshoot of Proud Mary’s Donuts, which is joined by Borealis Coffee. Haven Brothers and Friskie Fries will be dishing out comfort food while Mariska's Confections offers homemade desserts.

A highlight of the fifth anniversary presentation of “The Looff” is a program of extended events around the festival with the addition of the Burbage Theatre Company performing Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” on Friday night, at 7 p.m., and Sunday night, at 6 p.m., Aug. 9 and 11.

Of how the “Julius Caesar” shows came to be, Mr. Lawson said, “I reached out to Burbage Theater when I heard they were looking to do ‘Shakespeare in The Park’ performances this summer. It was a no brainer to add it as part of ‘The Looff’ activities. If all goes well I can see is doing full theatrical performances as part of the festival going forward.”

Sponsors of the 2019 “The Looff: East Providence Festival” include: The East Providence Post, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), Motif Magazine, East Providence Reporter, Printmakers, Inc., HeARTspot Art Center and Gallery, the Gordon School, the East Bay Ice Company, Stevie D’s Riverside Tavern, Navigant Credit Union, Pawtucket Credit Union, Washington Trust, Tirrell Realty, Iolabs, Igus, the Rhode Island Philharmonic School and the City of East Providence.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.