Books And Lights Combine To Create Brilliant Baltimore

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How does 10 days of lights, books, music, art and food sound? Baltimore Light City is back in its fourth year, but this year Baltimore is in for quite a treat.

Baltimore Light City and Baltimore Book Festival partnered to create the festival together. These are two of the biggest events sponsored by The Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts (BOPA). They are calling the experience Brilliant Baltimore.

Santiago Nocera, BOPA’s Marketing & Communications associate said, “We’ve combined them so it is both a celebration of books and a celebration of art, and also everything that contributes to the arts, literary arts, culinary arts, performing arts, and visual arts.”

More than 200 authors are part this year’s festival, including Baltimore author Linda Morris. Her book, “Cherry Hill: Raising Successful Black Children in Jim Crow Baltimore” chronicles her experiences growing up in South Baltimore. Visitors can participate by joining in panel discussions about a range of contemporary and historical issues.

More than 400,000 people are expected to take in Brilliant Baltimore, which runs until Sunday, November 10, 2019.

“This is my second time attending Light City. I think it’s a great way to spotlight the city and look at our attractions and our best known locations in a new way,” said Tierra Brown of the Department of Recreation & Parks of Baltimore. “I love the art installations. Baltimore in my mind is larger than life. I feel like, so is Light City.”

It’s no secret that the business community is excited about the festival. Hotels, parking garages and restaurants will see a big boost to their receipts because of the increased traffic at the harbor.

Although the event attracts its share of out of town visitors, organizers say the hometown crowd is what puts the event over the top.

“I love Light City. When I heard they were bringing it to Baltimore I thought it was a great concept. I love art, so to see it in a different form sparked my interest,” said Tammy Walters of the city’s Department of Transportation. “The event shows a different side of the city and shows off our diversity.”

“I think it’s a wonderful event to showcase Baltimore both locally and nationally, and it’s not just about being downtown we have it in our neighborhoods as well,” said Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. We want to encourage everyone to come out and enjoy everything we have to offer during the Light City and The Book Fair, but more importantly going to see the light exhibits in our neighborhoods.”

Eighteen installations illuminate The Inner Harbor including the popular “Shrooms” display by artists Amigo & Amigo. The 13 giant inflatable mushroom shapes will compliment a drone show, 45 performances and a fireworks finale this year.

Sunday, November 10, 2019. (Top right)

Cheyanne Gordon

Sunday, November 10, 2019. (Top right) “Shrooms” by artists Amigo & Amigo dot the landscape at Pier Five.

“We put out a call for artists and about half of those are Baltimore based artists,” said Nocera. “We are working with Baltimore talent, but are also working with international artist as well. Artists are here from Australia, Netherlands, France and Portugal.”

The ‘Infinity” is made up of three cocoon-like structures that light up as visitors enter. It also creates sound while following movement. Argentinian artist Julieta Guillermet said she created “Infinity” to inspire people.

“I think Light City is an amazing festival. It has world recognition. Art doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, you connect immediately,” said Guillermet.

The “DiscoBug” is a new installation that has its roots in the 60’s. It’s a Volkswagen Bug completely covered with mirrored tiles. Sitting on top of the Volkswagen is a tripod that holds 15 different lights creating a disco ball effect.

dot the landscape at Pier Five. (Above) DiscoBug

Cheyanne Gordon

dot the landscape at Pier Five. (Above) DiscoBug” by artist Tyler FuQua combines the popular disco ball and the VW Bug to give visitors an interactive experience with light and motion.

“Light City brings people out to see art that they may not see otherwise. It brings families out and it’s free. It’s just a great thing for the community and for people that love art,” said Tyler FuQua co-creator of “DiscoBug.”

People of all ages are encouraged to come out and enjoy this interactive free festival and book readings and signings.

Seven-year-old Kiara Levi of Baltimore said she enjoyed “The “Canopy” installation which allows visitors to pedal on a bike while inflating and deflating sculptural forms, tree like canopies.

“Light City is very nice, and it is really fun. I like biking,” Kiara Levi said.