A weeklong festival at the beginning of spring is set to light the area around the harbor from Harbor East to Federal Hill. Along the 1.2-mile stretch, Light City will also feature musical performances from Dan Deacon and classical groups, art installations and a conference focused on social change and innovation.
On Tuesday, organizers provided an early look at some of the details surrounding the free festival, which runs March 28-April 3, 2016. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore arts and give the city its own version of Vivid Sydney, making it a destination. Visit Baltimore’s Tom Noonan said the event would serve as a kickoff for the tourist season. It’s also timed with BGE’s 200th anniversary, marking the time when the first gas street lamps were brought into use in the country – in Baltimore. BGE is the event’s title sponsor. Light City has raised more than half of its $4 million goal.
Each night, the festival will open around 5 p.m. in the area around the harbor. Twenty-nine light-art installations will be positioned. Those were chosen from 240 entries. On Tuesday, a sample of Tim Scofield and Kyle Miller’s peacock was on display. The piece on display at Light City will be a 20-ft., animatronic steel sculpture. Other pieces include illuminated diamonds by Cheon Kroiz and a flotilla illuminated paper boats in the harbor. About 50 concerts and 100 performances will take place amid those installations. So far, the music headliner appears to be a free Dan Deacon show on April 2, but more acts are to be announced.
Light City will also feature a ticketed, six-day conference called LightCityU. Held at Columbus Center, the event will feature looks at innovators looking to create social change. So far, tracks in health innovation and sustainability have been established, and organizers are also looking at education, social impact and creative.
The fest will also stretch beyond the harbor with a neighborhood program where artists partner with a community to create a public art project. Those projects will happen in Mondawmin, Station North, Hampden, Coldstream Homestead Montebello and Little Italy.
Kathy Hornig is the director of the festival, and there’s a big team behind the effort. Light City was the brainchild of Brooke Hall and Justin Allen of What Works Studio, and the steering committee was chaired by Jamie McDonald of Generosity and Tom McDonald of Westwicke Partners. Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts is handling production.
“We developed Light City Baltimore with the intention of showcasing the use of the arts and innovation as a universal language, a people connector that engages diverse communities,” Jamie McDonald said. “Arts and innovation can be used as a tool to create change in urban America.”
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