In the News: Artists Tackle Social Justice, Politics, and Environmentalism in Baltimore's Newest Festival

Published Mar 24, 2016
Mar 24, 2016

By: Cara Ober

Light City Baltimore promises to be a spectacle of innovation, creativity, and ideas. Downtown businesses are hopeful that the 5 million dollar festival will attract thousands of consumers to the area, especially after a loss of income after the Uprising last spring.

You might assume that Light City will embrace technological innovation but keep content *lite* in order to appeal to the masses without upsetting anyone. You might think that the artists picked and funded to participate in the festival would be encouraged to avoid the serious social, economic, and environmental issues that fuel much of contemporary art, especially in Baltimore. However, BOPA’s national committee of jurors who selected the festival’s visual artists have strong ideas about the function and purpose of art. As a result, many of the dazzling, colorful installations you will experience in Light City will also educate visitors about social justice, economic inequality, global warming, and Baltimore’s troubled past.

In preparation for the festival, BmoreArt is highlighting a group of Light City visual artists who will tackle social, economic, and environmental issues and provide a challenging critical discourse for visitors and patrons.


Lightwave: Baltimore’s Beacon by Design Collective, Inc.

The historic Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, once a beacon at the mouth of the Patapsco River, becomes transformed by light and sound. Enshrouded in a sound responsive projection at the base, the lighthouse becomes host to a sound installation by local artist Wendel Patrick and producer Aaron Henkin, with both interviews and musical compositions featured in the popular WYPR program “Out of the Blocks.”

An undulating, meditative wave floats visibly around the base of the lighthouse, conjuring an image of how it would have been seen during the heyday of use in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The wave image changes in intensity and pace as the voices of Baltimore citizens share the unique stories that make up the fabric of the city. Lightwave: Baltimore’s Beacon shares these locally iconic and wholly distinctive elements in ways that emphasize the rarity that is both the city itself and the lighthouse that once harkened the way to find it.

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