PVDFest is excited to announce that Bert Crenca and Valerie Tutson are this year’s PVDFest Grand Marshals! Crenca and Tutson are two Providence residents who have put decades of effort into nurturing and promoting the local arts scene. The Grand Marshals will be formally “sashed” at the VIP party on Friday, June 8 and can be seen leading the parade down Washington Street on Saturday, June 9.

Umberto “Bert” Crenca is an artist and founder of AS220, Rhode Island’s unjuried, uncensored, all-ages home for the arts. Crenca recently received honorary doctorate degrees from both Brown University and Roger Williams University for his commitment to community development, creating opportunity for artists, and the revitalization of downtown Providence. As a visual artist, performance artist, and musician, Bert’s works and performances have been exhibited globally in galleries and on stages including the Galleria Del Corso in Latina, Italy; La Galeria Matadero in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the RISD Museum in Providence; the Newport Art Museum in Rhode Island; and the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

During PVDFest, you can see several pieces from Crenca’s TYPES series in the windows of RIHousing (at the corner of Washington and Eddy Streets). Other pieces in TYPES are showing at 233 Westminster Street, and larger examples are currently on the historic facade of the former Providence National Bank on Weybosset St, as part of Bert’s year-long public residency with the Avenue Concept.

Valerie Tutson is a storyteller, educator, and cultural programmer who has traveled the country performing stories and songs for audiences of all ages. She is a founding member and executive director of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers, and serves as director of FUNDA FEST: An Annual Celebration of Black Storytelling, held in Providence each winter. Tutson has a Master’s Degree in Theatre from Brown University, and for twelve years hosted the award winning TV show Cultural Tapestry. In 2017 Valerie received the Public Humanities Scholar Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities for her work to promote storytelling.

The PVDFest parade is always a highlight of the festival, and this year will include Squonk Opera “Cycle Sonic” as well as and local favorites What Cheer? Brigade and Extraordinary Rendition Band. The parade also includes Jazz at Lincoln Center with a second line parade featuring FirstWorks Arts Learning students.