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BLINK returns to Cincinnati in October

Bill Rinehart
The Contemporary Arts Center was one of 39 projection mapping locations during Blink 2019.

Cincinnati's BLINK art and light festival will be back for the third time this October. The popular event was last held in 2019 and drew more than a million attendees.

The event now has its first executive director: Justin Brookhart moved here from Austin, Texas for the job.

"We cannot wait to show you what all we have planned for BLINK in October," Brookhart said. "It's going to be a great time and bigger and better than ever."

The festival is scheduled for four nights beginning Thursday, Oct. 13. The light projection installations will be downtown and in Over-the-Rhine. Brookhart says they're still deciding what other neighborhoods will be included.

"This is our third year doing it and so we do want to make sure that it feels fresh and new and changing the map is one way that we can kind of do that," he said.

Brookhart says in the next few weeks, they'll put out a call for artists interested in participating.

"We're definitely going to have a lens towards more equality and inclusion in our efforts," Brookhart said. "So you're probably going to see a larger variety of artists, [although] not necessarily a higher quantity."

Last year, then-Mayor John Cranley announced the city would use $1 million in federal stimulus to bring BLINK back in 2022. City Council gets ultimate say in how to spend the money and hasn't voted on that yet.

"The funds are not allocated," said Jill Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. "But there was a tremendous amount of support last year with the previous administration and a lot of supporters at the city. So we'll see and we hope."

Meyer says BLINK is important for the local economy, with an estimated $86.7 million economic impact in 2019.

A countdown to the event is at blinkcincinnati.com, where you can also sign up to get updates.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.