Washington Trust and FirstWorks will once again partner to present The Rising Stars of FirstWorks - a FREE summer lunchtime concert series. The weekly series kicks off on Thursday, July 14 and will take place each Thursday at noon through August 4. The series celebrates the diverse talents of the region's most inspiring young performers and renews Washington Trust and FirstWorks' shared commitment to community and artistic excellence. Each forty-minute outdoor concert will be held at noon at the Washington Trust financial district branch, located in downtown Providence at the intersection of Westminster and Orange Streets.

"Washington Trust is honored to once again partner with FirstWorks to bring this free performance series to the DownCity Providence Financial District," stated Joseph J. MarcAurele, Washington Trust Chairman, President, and CEO. "The Rising Stars of First Works series is just one of the many ways we can celebrate what is great about the State of Rhode Island."

Now in its third year, The Rising Stars of FirstWorks will open with The Laotian Dance Troupe of the Laotian Community Center of RI on July 14. The Laotian Dance Troupe will present a rich and colorful performance that focuses on the Kinnaly, one of the loveliest mythological beings that dwell in the Himmapan Forest. The Kinnaly, also known as "Daughters of the Sky God", often escape their father's celestial playground, descending to Earth to enjoy simple pleasures such as bathing in the river. "Kinnaly", the song of the same name, depicts this particular bathing scene before the runaways fly back to the heavens.

Napua O' Polynesia - "Flowers of Polynesia" dancers, drummers and musicians will perform both Kahiko (Ancient) and Modern hula on July 21 in a cultural tour of the music and dance of Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti and The Philippines.

On July 28, Music One will perform a showcase featuring students' original compositions and arrangements. Music One's innovative program is designed to support and educate youth by cultivating their talents in original music and multi-media projects while providing mentoring, leadership development and empowerment for making positive change.

The series will conclude with RPM Youth Voices on August 4 in a spiritually uplifting and culturally enriching musical performance featuring gospel, jazz and blues.

"This summer four stellar young ensembles make first appearances as ‘Rising Stars of FirstWorks', entertaining lunchtime audiences with their talent, dedication and creativity," said Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director, FirstWorks. "FirstWorks is delighted to collaborate for a third year with Washington Trust to showcase young musicians, dancers and composers -- proving you don't have to travel the globe to have a rich international arts experience."

About FirstWorks:
Beginning with an unprecedented collaboration with Providence's Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, FirstWorks was launched in 2004 as a vehicle to build community, reach underserved audiences, and present extraordinary arts programs that elevate Providence's national profile. In the seven years since, FirstWorks has produced 21 groundbreaking arts festivals, attracted more than 95,000 participants, presented over 300 international artists and innovators, engaged more than 100 nonprofit community organizations and schools, and grown into a multidimensional arts organization recognized with eleven National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants.

About Washington Trust

The Washington Trust Company is a subsidiary of Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc., a $2.9 billion corporation headquartered in Westerly, Rhode Island. Founded in 1800, Washington Trust is the oldest community bank in the nation and is the largest independent bank headquartered in Rhode Island. A state-chartered bank, Washington Trust offers a full range of financial services, including business banking, personal banking, and wealth management and trust services through its offices located in Rhode Island, Southeastern Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Corporation's common stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Select® Stock Market under the symbol WASH. Web site address: www.washtrust.com.

For more information about the Rising Stars concert series or for a preview of FirstWorks Festival 2011 kicking off on September 22, visit: www.first-works.org. This year's events will draw artists from around the globe for a celebration of theater, dance, music, new media and visual arts. Tickets on sale July 20.