Public art installation destroyed by fire, Providence Police investigating

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Providence Police detectives are investigating after a prominent public art installation was destroyed by a fire early Monday morning.

According to Providence City Councilor John Goncalves, the installation “Like a Buoy, Like a Barrel” located at 225 Dyer Street caught fire around 2:00 a.m. Monday.

“While this is an active investigation, we don’t yet know the details of the cause of the fire. What I do know is this: our community will not stand for the destruction of public or private property,” said Goncalves.

The installation was created by New York-based artist Steven Siegel. It was the first major art installation in Providence’s new Innovation District. Siegel said it took two years of planning to create.

“It was a good one and I’m sorry to see it go,” said Siegel.

“Like a Buoy, Like a Barrel” was completed in September 2019. It was slated to stay in Providence for three years, but made it less than one.

“This is an interesting twist. These pieces are all meant to be temporary. I’ve never had one be temporary quite like this,” said Siegel.

He said he feels for the community, which helped him collect and clean the single-use plastics and bike tires used in the piece.

“Hundreds of people locally participated in the construction of this project,” said John Taraborelli of The Avenue Concept, which partnered with Siegel to create the art. “This piece of art was truly public art because so many people in the public had a hand in creating it.”

Taraborelli said the fire will not stop The Avenue Concept from making public art.

“We’re heartbroken but also resolute and optimistic,” said Taraborelli.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island