Light City, the first large-scale festival of light, music and innovation in the United States, is set to make its stunning return to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and neighborhoods throughout the city from March 31, through April 8, 2017. This year’s festival will feature more than 50 attractions, including illuminated sculptures, projections, interactive technologies and performances by artists from around the globe, as well as concerts, food vendors and a children’s area organized along the 1.5-mile BGE Light Walk, which begins along West Shore Park and continues around the harbor towards Pier 6. All outdoor Light City activities, performances and installations are available to guests free of charge.
Light and Music For All
Apparatus Florius Leeds 2016 by Tom Dekyvere, photo by Mark Pickthall
The National Aquarium is proud to serve as the base for one of this year’s major installations, Our House, by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere. Conceptually inspired by ribosome structures and the geometry of architectural spaces, Our House consists of an intricate web of illuminated nylon wire across the suspension bridge connecting Piers 3 and 4, contrasting technology and nature through the metaphoric symbols of sound and vision.
In front of the National Aquarium in Gunther Circle directly off of Pratt Street, a uniquely Baltimorean interactive installation, Kinetic Kauchii DekoSofa, will provide surprising and joyful encounters between the audience and the artists, and among audience members themselves. Designed and fabricated by Formstone Castle Collective of Upper Fell’s Point, the DekoSofa is inspired by Baltimore’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, the couch-surfing community of Washington D.C. where the artists met, as well as the Japanese DekoTora design aesthetic of the 1970s. Kinetic Kauchii DekoSofa is intended to prompt questions about community, neighborhood engagement and sustainable transportation, while reminding people of the inseparable relationship of humans and the Chesapeake Bay.
On Pier 4 at the Aquarium’s dolphin fountain, Baltimore artist, composer and educator Tim Nohe presents Electron Drawing—Visual Music, an interactive light and sound installation that encourages visitors of all ages to become active creators of live technological art and beautiful, mathematically derived music and drawings. This interactive artwork is rooted in expressive drawing, fascinating mathematical discoveries of the 19th century, and the “switched-on” synthesizer music of the 1960s. Audiences directly shape the video-projected electronic drawings and music through a joystick and button arcade controllers.
Additional details on these and all installations—and the artists who created them—in the Inner Harbor and beyond can be found by visiting the Light City website.
Amidst this year’s major installations, visitors will enjoy nightly performances, featuring music and dance, as well as puppetry, wearable art, illuminated stilt walkers and more. Click here for a full schedule of nightly performances.
In addition to large-scale, interactive art and stunning performances each evening, Labs@LightCity will spark social change through innovation by bringing together national and local thought leaders and engaged, inspired citizens from diverse backgrounds to explore cutting edge concepts via a series of daytime innovation conferences focused on health, education, design and food, as well as environmental sustainability and social change. Tickets for these important, conversation-style events are available here.
Make sure to check out the National Aquarium’s conservation staff and their collaborators as they discuss the urban conservation movement, focusing on initiatives and partnerships that create lasting change within Baltimore City, as part of the GreenLab@LightCity on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
Community members who wish to attend but cannot afford the price of a ticket can apply to attend as a Light City Luminary. Luminaries participate fully in all aspects of their selected Lab. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 3, 2017. Click here to apply.
Check Out the Conferences
Plan your Trip
In 2016, its inaugural year, Light City attracted over 400,000 visitors, and the National Aquarium is proud to be at the heart of this only-in-Baltimore event. In celebration of Light City, and our beloved Baltimore, the National Aquarium is continuing the festivities indoors. In-building guests will have the opportunity to embark on a scavenger hunt that explores the wonders of illumination in the aquatic world, and may enjoy special programming which sheds some light on conservation with simple ways you can help protect critical ocean environments. These family-friendly activities will be available for Aquarium guests to enjoy during regular operating hours, including Half-Price Friday Nights, presented by M&T Bank.
What are the festival dates and times?
Light City kicks off on Friday, March 31, and continues through Saturday, April 8, 2017. Light installations will be on display from 7 pm to 11 pm on Monday through Thursday, and Sunday nights. Friday and Saturday nights extend to midnight. Mini Light City—a specifically kid-centric component of the festival— is open nightly from 7 pm to 9 pm, with an extended hour on Saturday until 10 pm.
Does Light City cost money?
All light displays and performances are 100 percent free! This is an excellent opportunity to enjoy everything the city has to offer. Labs@Light City is a ticketed event, and scholarships are available for individuals who cannot afford the regular ticket price. To learn more and buy tickets, visit the Light City website.
Does the Aquarium offer discounts?
All of Light City’s outdoor festivities are free. For discounted admission to the Aquarium, which includes special Light City programming throughout the festival, we encourage you to consider Half-Priced Friday Nights, presented by M&T Bank. As with all Fridays after 5 pm, admission is half price on Friday, March 31, and Friday, April 6.
What musicians and bands will be performing and when?
Check out Light City’s website for details on musical performances, lineups and showtimes.