Kelly, guest blogger from Loyola University, describes Light City from a student's perspective.
We got off the bus, not really knowing what to expect, and as we walked towards the Inner Harbor, we were overwhelmed by the crowd, the music, and the lights.
My friends and I trekked down to the Harbor for Light City on Thursday night, so we weren’t expecting too many people. It was a school night and a work night, after all. We thought we might bump into some other Loyola students, since it was “Loyola Night.”
To our surprise, there were thousands of people walking around the Inner Harbor enjoying the festival. I’ve never been so happy to see so many people in one place, all celebrating Baltimore…
I was impressed by the incredible planning that went into this week-long festival. Arranging a festival is hard enough, but then factor in interactive exhibits, live performing arts, public art, all in a city, on the water, at night, during a week wherein the weather included 50 mph winds, several thunder storms, and blue skies.
Planning the events and having a vision for the week must have presented an interesting challenge. It was also the first time Light City has been hosted by an American city.
It was awesome. All of the exhibits were spaced out well so that it was cohesive, but not overwhelming. And I thought there was a lot of diversity in the different exhibits and the artists represented.
I’m sure by now people have seen plenty of pictures of the Ferris Wheel (which is completely warranted, because it was so cool), but there were so many other interesting art displays…
There was a tableau performance area. There were different structures covered in lights to walk through and explore. There were even light-up umbrellas designed by a robotics class at MIT. There were so many colors and things to see that we probably could’ve walked around for hours and still found new things—or rediscovered things from new angles.
My favorite exhibit was definitely the Racial Justice display. I think it was interesting how they displayed it on an empty fountain, using the different walls to display different people facing racial injustice. “Justice for Tyrone West.” “Justice for Sandra Bland.” “Justice for Tamir Rice.” In the background, scenes from historical moments in the fight for racial justice, including footage from the Civil Rights Movement, played on a loop.
I thought this was the perfect exhibit combining a bunch of different aspects of life in Baltimore. Yes, Baltimore is a place of innovation, industry, hope, and many great things. But it’s also a place plagued by racial injustice, like most American cities.
We cannot celebrate the good in Baltimore without reflecting on the things which we need to improve.
I applaud the planners of Light City for including this exhibit, and I hope it sparks renewed conversation about race relations and diversity across Baltimore. This exhibit brought light to the injustices members of the Baltimore community and the American community face every day, something we shouldn’t forget about just because it isn’t in the news.
I loved walking through the exhibits, exploring how different artists used light to create beauty. Light City was truly a celebration of creativity at work here in Charm City, and I was proud that it took place in Baltimore.
Baltimore’s achievements and developments, especially in “the arts,” often go unrecognized, so I hope that Light City helped people understand the amazing things happening in Baltimore.
- Kelly Mueller, Loyola University Maryland, 2018