Portland Winter Light Festival Illuminates The Night

Photo: Geoffrey Squire Silver

Thursday, January 20 2022 – The Portland Winter Light Festival (PDXWLF) kicks off its biggest and most dynamic festival to date with a full roster of over 100 works of art. The free, all-ages, and entirely outdoor festival takes place February 4 - 12, 2022. Returning for the festival's seventh year as Presenting Sponsor is PGE with additional key support from the City of Portland and Downtown Portland. The 2022 theme is “Within the Ecosystem”. Admission is free.

Repeating the success of last year’s festival format, organizers have created a decentralized footprint, allowing guests more space and time to view installations, minimize crowding, and allow for physical distancing while celebrating light and art with their community. In an effort to minimize crowding, organizers will not publish specific walking routes, and instead encourage guests to embrace the spirit of discovery and choose their own path to explore the installations.

For the first time ever, the festival will stretch through eight full nights of light, art, and experiences, with anchor programming on both weekends (Friday and Saturday nights). The main “anchor locations” for artwork will be located at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the World Trade Center, and at the Electric Blocks at SE 2nd and Clay. Anchor locations will only be operating on weekends, 6pm - 10pm Friday and Saturday nights, February 5 - 6 and 11 - 12. These anchor locations will feature dynamic, large-scale artworks, music, and food carts. 

In addition to providing a safer experience through the decentralized footprint, the citywide format allows more people to experience art, increasing equitable access for more families and guests across Portland. Attendees are encouraged to wear masks and observe physical distancing at all art installations.

Planned highlights include:

  • The return of Helianthus Enorme by Fez BeGaetz, a 25’ tall sunflower with 3,500 pixels of programmable LEDs
  • Large-scale building projections by lighting art Mark Johns and Craig Winslow
  • Participation from students at Leodis V. McDaniel School Skyline K-8, Portland State University, University of Oregon, and local children from the Lents neighborhood
  • Virror, a 6’ tall LED wall with a 3-D scanning sensor that acts as a “virtual mirror”
  • Bioluminescent Beasts, a light-reactive installation by popular local artist Mike Bennett
  • ‘Green Fuse’, a multimedia art experience from CymaSpace combining music and sound-responsive LED lights strips to benefit both Deaf and hearing people
  • An illuminated bike ride, roller disco night, four evenings of Silent Disco dances, and many more opportunities for attendee participation
  • Installations all over Portland including in Tigard, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie and Hayden Island
  • In addition, for the entire month of February there will be a visiting attraction on the Willamette River — Luna, a 24 foot long orca whale covered in 6,000 environmentally friendly LED bulbs. Designed by world-renowned decorative lighting experts MK Illumination, this extraordinary sculpture is on loan from Lumiere Vancouver, a Canadian winter light festival. 

“Over the past two years of the pandemic, Portlanders have shown that they care about community, celebration and each other. Now more than ever it feels important to put your mask on and go out and safely rediscover our city,” says Portland Winter Light Festival Executive Director Alisha Sullivan. “We are incredibly proud to be one of the very few activities that provided free, in-person opportunities to safely interact with art in 2020 and 2021, and we look forward to doing so again in 2022.”

Source: Portland Winter Light Festival

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