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Blink Organizers Are "Dreaming Big" For 2019

Updated 12:10 p.m.

The light and art show that replaced Lumenocity and attracted an estimated 1 million people to Downtown and Over-the-Rhine will be back, but not until next year. The Cincinnati Regional Chamber says Blink will return in October 2019 with large-scale projection mapping, murals, light sculptures and other entertainment.

Chamber President Jill Meyer says the big question is how to make it bigger and better. "It's an endless conversation about what you could do," she says. "The question comes down to how can you pull it together. You have to fund it, you have to find the artists and all the pieces to make some of it come together. So I would say we're dreaming big and thinking about a lot of cool things and then we need to sit down and figure out what pieces we can actually make happen."

Meyer says fundraising will be a major consideration as the 2019 event is planned. "One of the coolest things about Blink 2017 was that it was free to the public and it brought everybody in the community together. To do that you just have to have the funding to put the event together so that you don't have to partition off and charge people and not let everybody participate," she says.

The first Blink lasted four nights and spanned 20 blocks between The Banks and Over-the-Rhine. There were 25 light projections displayed on buildings, and more than 40 light-based sculptures and installations. Artists also created 10 new murals in connection with Blink. It cost an estimated $3 million.

Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
The Charlie Harper mural on Court Street was one of about two dozen light projections during 2017's Blink

Tim Maloney, president and CEO of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./US Bank Foundation says the first event did appear to draw people from outside the immediate area. "We didn't have a UC Economic group behind us as we will this time," he says. "That data is really important to gather. Because it's all done for economic impact, and we know we had that, we just need clearer evidence next time."

Maloney says any business that's interested in "hosting" a projection mapping for a future Blink should call him. 

Meyer says while Blink had eye-catching and mind-blowing displays from official artists, some people took it upon themselves to create independent, but related artworks. "A lot of people just had their own fun with it, and I think that was also part of the mystery around it all. Everybody had their own little ownership piece and it took all of those pieces for this to really come to life."

Meyer says the Chamber has received inquiries from outside the Cincinnati area asking if Blink would be repeated. She says that could aid in fundraising, tourism and attracting new artists.

Blink is planned for October 10-13, 2019. Relive some of the 2017 Blink murals by clicking the photo above.