A planned Lumenocity-style light and art festival will span 20 city blocks and four days next October. Organizers say BLINK Cincinnati could attract half a million visitors to Cincinnati from Oct. 12-15, 2017.
The event will be divided into four zones running along the streetcar route from the Banks and Smale Park to Findlay Market. Each zone will feature large and small-scale projection mapping, murals, sculptures, interactive art and light exhibits, and local and international artists and their works. Parking lots and gathering spaces will be transformed into small block parties as well.
BLINK Cincinnati is based on similar ones around the world, especially in Europe and Australia, which have attracted millions of visitors. The projected cost is $3 million dollars. The Haile Foundation is a founding sponsor but other sponsors are being sought.
Haile Foundation President Tim Maloney says the goal is to increase awareness of Cincinnati as a "future city" and to "put the spotlight firmly on our talented, creative community as well as our arts organizations."
Dan Reynolds of Brave Berlin, one of the design partners behind Lumenocity, agrees. He recounts how someone early on in the planning of BLINK asked, 'why are we doing this?'
"And the answer came back, 'because this is what future cities do.' We are a future city. We are no longer a fly-over city. We're no longer a second-tier city. We are by all means a future city, so now is the time."
Reynolds' partner at Brave Berlin, Steve McGowan, is excited to see what ideas artists will submit for various murals and light-mapping designs. (The images in this story are representations, not definite designs.) He says many of the installations will feel 4-dimensional, bringing the city to life.
That's not all.
"This isn't just a light show; this is a Cincinnati show," says McGowan. "We're going to be highlighting culinary, the best in the arts, the best in entertainment, the best in attractions, so it really does open it up to everyone."
Some of the artwork won't go away after the event is over. Andrew Salzbrun with AGAR says local and international artists will create a permanent art gallery on the walls of buildings lining Pleasant Street near Findlay Market.
ArtWorks is also involved. They want to work with children and schools to really get the community involved. Lantern making events and classroom activities could be part of the process, culminating in a lantern parade.
Cincinnati Public Radio receives some funding from the Haile Foundation.