Cranston Street Armory drill hall, 2017  /  All photos courtesy of Rebecca Atwood

West Broadway Neighborhood Association is offering guided tours of the Armory during PVDFest's final day celebration in Dexter Training Ground on Sunday, June 4, 2017.

Tours will run on the half hour from 1pm until 5:30pm and are part of WBNA's broader initiative to get people back into the Armory, offering a glimpse of what this building means to our neighborhood and the potential benefit it could bring to our city and state in the near future.



The Cranston Street Armory, historically known as The Providence Armory on Cranston Street, is a centerpiece of our neighborhood. While advocating for decades to preserve this historic building, WBNA has most recently been meeting with the state's Cranston Street Armory Stakeholder Committee in its efforts to get the Armory open and utilized both in the short term for temporary uses and with a focus on a permanent and appropriate re-use for our magnificent west side castle.

Senator Paul V. Jabour has also worked closely with us to get a scope and cost breakdown of what repairs need to be made to enable the public to gain regular access to the building. 

This past winter and early spring, the State of Rhode Island conducted a Request for Proposals process for the development of re-use options for the Armory, and is expected to release an announcement of the chosen consultant in the near future. 

With a projected start date of summer 2017, this visioning and planning project will include community charrettes and research on the successful re-use of other large or similar historic buildings. The end result will be a set of recommendations for creative and sustainable repurposing of the building that preserves the historic and iconic nature of the structure and that has a civic purpose. The project will take a year to complete.


PVDFest's grand finale in Dexter Training Ground will have a special focus on the Armory that aims to "open up new conversations about the past, present, and potential future uses for the famous castle in Providence’s West End."

From Providence's Art, Culture and Tourism Council and FirstWorks:

Programing on June 4th begins at 1pm when RISD Museum’s fleet of Armory-themed trucks open their doors along Hollywood Road. Providence artists will create immersive art experiences in five repurposed box trucks, each skinned to exaggerate and highlight the iconic architectural features of the Cranston Street Armory.  These interactive “mini-Armories” will be on display and open for engagement throughout the afternoon while food trucks along Parade Street offer up their culinary wares.
At 3pm, Haitian born, Harlem-based composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (aka DBR) returns to PVDFest for a massive musical spectacle. “En Masse” is a large-scale composition created for up to 500 musicians that is entirely new every time it is performed. This collective musical celebration – a cross between a flash mob and a processional – will feature marching bands, street musicians, and music students from across Rhode Island. 
At 6pm, Community MusicWorks students, alumni, and faculty will join composer Gonzalo Grau, and his salsa band La Clave Secreta, along with Johnny Gandelsman and other special guests, for a 20th anniversary season reprise of "Fantasia con Guyaba Habanera,” a piece that CMW and Gandelsman premiered at John Hope Settlement House in May 2013. The CMW program concludes with a salsa set by Grau and ensemble.
Around sundown, following CMW’s performance, DBR and friends return to the stage for a final encore singalong. Audiences will join in song with their neighbors from the West End, Elmwood, Upper South Providence, Federal Hill, and across the city and state, to celebrate 110 years of history, creativity, and community engagement at The Cranston Street Armory. This encore will close PVDFest out with an epic swell of joyful noise.

WBNA thanks the State of Rhode Island for coordinating access to the Armory for our tours, the City of Providence for celebrating our Castle in the Park during PVDFest, and for our Armory Advocacy Committee and volunteer tour guides for organizing this event.

Look for our WBNA booth in the park on June 4th to sign up for a tour!

Want to be more involved? Please join our WBNA Armory Advocacy Committee which meets on the first Wednesday of every month.