Nights, lights and delights
If you're looking for something bright to raise your spirits during these tumultuous times and winter nights, you can find it in the Portland area the next couple of weekends.
The Portland Winter Light Festival, which usually features creative light installations around the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Eastband Esplanade and elsewhere, had to evolve in its sixth year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and government safety restrictions. It's now being promoted as the Portland Winter Light (non)Festival and includes a series of installations, video projections and more.
Light art will be displayed ranging from a boat dock in St. Johns to a private residence in Milwaukie. The largest concentration of installations will be in downtown Portland, around Pioneer Courthouse Square. They light up the night from 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 5-6 and Feb. 12-13.
A placement map is available at www.pdxwlf.com.
It's an annual program of the Willamette Light Brigade, which founded it in 2016 to brighten Portland's winter nights and show off cool light art.
"A major part of our mission is to invigorate Portland in the winter," said Alisha Sullivan, festival executive director. "This year, we see the significance of that mission more than ever. The planned installations are collaborative projects geared toward civic placemaking."
Installations will include architectural lighting, pop-up window displays, projection mapping and more.
Festival highlights include:
• "Magic Spaces" by Chris Herring, and Larry Yes, a series of large-scale lighting and video installations across downtown Portland.
• "Don't Be So Hard on Yourself," an inflatable brain by artist collective Black & Gifted and Dave Shirkhani, hosted at ZGF Architects, 1223 S.W. Washington St.
• "Phosphorescent Fossils," glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs by Mike Bennett, downtown at the 10Y Building, Southwest 10th Avenue and Yamhill Street.
• "Disco Bug" by Tyler FuQua Creations, a life-size Volkswagen Bug covered in mirrors with reactive lighting, hosted at Peloton Apartments, 4141 N. Williams Ave.
• "Astral Tide," a large-scale video mapping by Amy Meyer with street murals by Portland Street Art Alliance, hosted at the Nova Building, 1615 S.E. Third Ave.
• "Kaleidoscopic Canopies," a lighting installation by Mayer/Reed at Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way.
Organizers want to minimize crowding; they ask anyone viewing the outdoor art to use appropriate safety protocols (such as masks and social distancing).
"This past year has demonstrated that we all need art, connection and community more than ever," Sullivan said. "When we approached local businesses, organizations and artists about moving ahead with this year's experience, we weren't sure what the response would be — but we were amazed by the positive reaction. It's clear that everyone is craving a sense of placemaking and civic engagement. We're honored to bring some bright light to our city just when we need it most."
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