Barnaby Evans received his bachelor's degree in biology and environmental science from Brown University in 1975, where he was a member of the Brown Association for Cooperative Housing.
In 1994, Barnaby Evans created First Fire to celebrate the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence. In June 1996, he created Second Fire for the International Sculpture Conference and the Convergence International Arts Festival in Providence. With hundreds of volunteers and the broad support of the community he established WaterFire as an ongoing installation in 1997.
Barnaby Evans also created WaterFire Houston in 1998 and installed Moving Water for the Institute of Contemporary Art's Vita Brevis Program in Boston in 2001.
Barnaby Evans has lectured at many universities including Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, MIT, Harvard, Cornell, McGill, and the University of Barcelona. He was a 2003/2004 Artist in Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he co-taught a course at the Department of Urban Studies with the late Mark Schuster. In 2008 Evans created a new work on the Boston Common for First Night Boston.