‘Lighten Up Albuquerque’ festival to project local art onto city landmarks

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new medium of art is coming to Albuquerque, inspired by festivals around the world. Electric Playhouse, City of Albuquerque and Epson are partnering up to project art on city landmarks, using light.

“We wanted to build a projection mapping festival, which you see around the world, and bring a small piece of that here to Albuquerque,” said John-Mark Collins, founder and CEO of Electric Playhouse. “With our grand opening on February 1, we figured it would be a good time for us to lead up to that with some really interesting pieces around the city.”

As Electric Playhouse, a new, family-friendly digital and gaming recreation spot, prepares for its grand opening, this project was inspired as a way to bring the technology around the city to transport locals into another reality. For the next five weeks, Albuquerque landmarks like the KiMo Theatre will display the work of local artists through the power of light and energy technology.

“We have really unique architecture, for one, and landscape, so being able to do these outdoor site-specific projections really adds to the beauty of the physical landscape here,” said Collins. “It’s also such a great art community that we can pull a lot of really great local talent without having to look outside the state to do what we’re doing.”

The KiMo’s display, ‘Ecosystem Illuminated’ by local artist Bill Pritchard, will focus on the species and spaces that are symbolic of New Mexico. The light projections will debut every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at various spots around town until Feb. 1.

The work focuses on themes like energy, community, sustainability, light and play. This is the first year for the ‘Lighten Up Albuquerque’ festival and Collins hopes it becomes a winter tradition for Albuquerque.

“We’re hoping this is something that will continue on annually as a way to kind of highlight city landmarks and special artists around the city and get people out and thinking about the medium as a way to really gauge the community,” said Collins. “We really want this to become something that’s a staple; when people look forward to seeing what comes up next year, and what next week’s location is and what the art looks like.”

The City of Albuquerque is helping bring together the locations for the projections, while Epson is helping sponsor the technology needed. The projections will run from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. each Friday.

The schedule includes:

  • Friday, Jan. 3, 7-9 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre with artist Bill Pritchard, open to the public
  • Friday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m. at the Rail Yards with artists Britney King and Katy Parsons, closed to the public but will have a live stream
  • Friday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m. at the BioPark with artist Plant Dat, closed to the public but will have a live stream
  • Friday, Jan. 24, 7-9 p.m. at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum with artist Brian Carlson, open to the public
  • Saturday, Feb. 1, 5-10 p.m. at Electric Playhouse‘s grand opening with artist Morgan Barnard, open to the public.

Electric Playhouse says the festival is focused around the Winter Solstice with light coming back. They hope the event will grow in 2021.

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