Light City returns to Baltimore for a third year in April 2018

Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announces details for the third annual Light City, the nation’s first free large-scale light, music and innovation festival powering social change.

The theme for 2018 is “More Love, More Lights!” as Light City expands to three weekends with Neighborhood Lights April 6-8, the Light City art and music festival April 14-21 and the Labs@LightCity social innovation conference April 18-21. The light of Light City spreads to touch even more Baltimore neighborhoods through expanded Neighborhood Lights and Brilliant Baltimore programs and a new “Eye on Charlie” initiative. In addition, Labs@LightCity, the festival’s social innovation conference, generates a glowing ecosystem of ideas and learning during the day, before the bright lights and live entertainment make Baltimore shine at night. Light City is fully accessible, free and open to all.

The festival returns to Baltimore’s waterfront (from the Inner Harbor to Harbor East) Saturday, April 14 through Saturday, April 21, 2018. Festival hours are from 7pm-11pm Sunday through Thursday, and 7pm-midnight on Friday and Saturdays. Light City’s BGE Light Art Walk transforms the harbor’s brick-lined promenade to an interactive playground with awe-inspiring light art installations, performances, concerts, a fun-filled family zone and special moments including an opening night parade and a closing night fireworks finale. Plus, the festival’s food and beverage offerings are proudly 100% local, reflecting Baltimore’s burgeoning cuisine scene. All of the 21 light installations on display are brand new to Light City, with distinguished artists hailing from Belgium, China, Canada, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Virginia and Illinois. Ten of the distinguished artists are from Baltimore. The artists were selected by a panel consisting of six jurors: Cecilia Alemani, Christopher Bedford, Alessandra Caggiano, Kimberly Drew, Lance Fung and Julia Kaganskiy. Many of the artworks have overarching themes related to topics such as sustainability, marine life, Baltimore history, social justice, healthy waterways, transformation and relationships. A complete listing of the artworks featured in this year’s festival can be found here.

Other entertainment along the BGE Light Art Walk includes interactive, illuminated strolling and pop-up performances and a full schedule of live concerts and DJ sets on two stages. On the Light Up the Night! Concert Stage at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, headlining acts include Grand Master Flash on Saturday, April 14 at 10 p.m.; G. Love & Special Sauce Friday, April 20 at 10:30 p.m.; and Kimbra Saturday, April 21 at 10:30 p.m. On the new Club Light City Stage presented by Morgan State University, house, dance and hip hop DJs perform along with local talent such as TrillNatured, Mighty Mark and DJ LoveGoddess.

Neighborhood Lights, Light City’s immersive community artist-in-residence program kicks off April 6-8 and grows from eight to fourteen neighborhoods: Belair-Edison, Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District, Darley Park, Federal Hill, Baybrook (Brooklyn and Curtis Bay), Remington, Hamilton-Lauraville, Highlandtown, Hollins Roundhouse/Southwest Baltimore, Little Italy, Locust Point, Patterson Park, Pigtown and Waverly. Twelve artists were selected to collaborate with community organizations in these neighborhoods to create illuminated visual or performance art pieces for all to enjoy. More information on the Neighborhood Lights projects for 2018 can be found here.

Labs@Light City, one of the largest and most unique social innovation conferences in the country returns Wednesday, April 18 through Saturday, April 21 to the IMET Columbus Center. This year, Labs@LightCity introduces a “Pay What You Can” ticketing system to allow even more people to attend the sessions, regardless of ability to pay. A restructured four-day schedule combines the topics Education presented by University System of Maryland, Green presented by BGE, Art presented by France-Merrick Foundation (new), Social presented by WJZ-TV, Health presented by Kaiser Permanente, Makers presented by Stanley Black & Decker (new) and Food presented by Visit Baltimore with new speakers, discussions and activities each day. New speakers for 2018 include celebrity chef Art Smith, ABC News correspondent Byron Pitts, New Zealand singer and actress Kimbra, civil rights activist and educator DeRay McKesson, art activist and former professional football player Aaron Maybin, ‘The Wire’ alum Sonja Sohn, American music industry executive Shanti Das, CEO of Crisis Text Line and former CEO of Do Something Inc. Nancy Lublin, President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr., artist and owner of Fix Baltimore Keith “K.C.” Cooper and renowned artist and former NFL player Mateo Blu. In each Lab, voices of both emerging and established thinkers from Baltimore and around the country will explore how we become a more just and equitable society. A complete list of speakers and the schedule for Labs@LightCity 2018 can be found here.

Some of the new components for Light City 2018 include:

Brilliant Baltimore Community Showcase: The program in which businesses illuminate their buildings in the official Light City colors, expands to include communities with a unique Community Showcase contest. Through the Community Showcase program, a community has the chance to win $2,018 by creating a light display in their neighborhood, with nine honorable mentions receiving $1,000 each. The public will have the chance to vote for their favorite neighborhood display through an online voting system. Supported by Transamerica.

Club Light City presented by Morgan State University: Light City adds a second “Club Light City” stage to showcase sets from local, national, and international DJs in Kaufman Pavilion by Rash Field.

Drone Prix at Light City: A collaboration of Light City and Global Air Media

A never-before-seen mix of art, sport and technology! The Light City drone race course will be a newly commissioned light installation/sculpture garden/obstacle course for the most exciting drone league racers in the country, and the only race course of its kind in the world. This MultiGP officially sanctioned drone race squares Baltimore’s reputation as “The Drone Capital of the United States!” Local Baltimore-based artist collaborative McCormack and Figg is commissioned to create the sculptural obstacles for the Drone Prix and festivalgoers will have the opportunity to meander through this sculpture garden-obstacle course during race breaks.

Eye on Charlie presented by WJZ-TV: The third most popular bird in Baltimore and an original light art piece from 2016, Charlie the Peacock travels throughout the city, popping up in a different surprise location every night from April 9-21. Clues will be given out on WJZ-TV and Light City’s social media channels daily to hint to Charlie’s whereabouts that night. On the final night of Light City, Charlie will join the festival at the Inner Harbor just in time for closing fireworks. Charlie the Peacock is created by Tim Scofield, Kyle Mille, Steve Dalnekoff and Will Cocks. The Peacock is an automated kinetic sculpture measuring 40 feet wide by 20 feet tall and is lighted with 15,000 LED lights.

Labs@LightCity Student Newsroom: New this year, the daytime Labs@LightCity conferences will have a student newsroom where news will be gathered by students from Labs@LightCity’s university partners and prepared for broadcasting and publishing. The goal of the student newsroom is to move the education of Labs@LightCity forward by telling the stories of Labs@LightCity and bridging the relationship between those in attendance and those consuming the content.

Mini Light City presented by Transamerica: the family-friendly makerspace at Light City continues its tradition of cutting edge hands on activity in 2018. New this year, Mini Light City occupies an expanded footprint and indoor location to allow festival goers to leisurely explore some exciting options for make and take and hands-on activities.

“Pay What You Can” for Labs@LightCity: The new ticket model is reflective of Light City’s goal to be accessible to all, regardless of ability to pay. Attendees must register but can choose a free ticket or to pay what they can to participate in the Labs and to support the attendance of others.

Self-guided audio tours by Live Baltimore: Festivalgoers can listen to an audio tour recorded by Live Baltimore with detailed descriptions on the 21 BGE Light Art Walk installations and the 14 Neighborhood Lights installations. Attendees have the option to dial 410-934-7821, then enter the number of the BGE Light Art Walk stop or Neighborhood Lights project they wish to hear more about.

For a complete listing of light art and activities found at Light City 2018, visit Light City’s new website,, or download the new mobile app. The new website and mobile app were designed by Baltimore-based integrated advertising agency, idfive.

Light City is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and made possible by Lead Founding Partner: BGE; Founding and Sustaining Partners: City of Baltimore, Brown Advisory, Kaiser Permanente, Maryland Department of Commerce, Visit Baltimore, Whiting-Turner, T. Rowe Price and WJZ-TV; Leadership Partners: Pier V Hotel, University System of Maryland, Bunting Family Foundation, Ballard Spahr LLP, France-Merrick Foundation, Maryland State Arts Council, What Works Studio and the Baltimore Ravens; Major Sponsors: Johns Hopkins University, Downtown Partnership, Constellation, Loyola University Maryland, PNC Bank, Stanley Black & Decker and Transamerica; Community Sponsors: Atapco Properties, Ellin & Tucker, Pandora, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Coppin State University, Live Baltimore, Wegmans, Salisbury University, Towson University, Mission Tix, Hard Rock Café, National Aquarium, University of Maryland, Morgan State University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland University College, Transdev and Venable LLP.

About Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization which serves as Baltimore City’s arts council, events agency, and film office. By producing large-scale events such as Light City, Artscape and the Baltimore Book Festival, and providing funding and support to artists, arts programs and organizations across the city, BOPA’s goal is to make Baltimore a more vibrant and creative city.

Source: The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts

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