Lights in the Night

Lights in the Night
The Awesome Mitten(Lights in the Night)
Photo Courtesy of Lights in the Night

[box type=”info”]Update: This event has been postponed until September 28th due to inclement weather. Read more here.[/box]

As Grand Rapids holds its breath in anticipation of hosting its 4th annual ArtPrize Festival, volunteers and artists across the city prepare for national scrutiny and appreciation from enthusiasts, locals, peers and, ultimately, judges. While each festival has offered unique entries, the community involvement for 2012’s Lights in the Night entry puts this year’s festival into a league of her own.

Inspired by the Chinese tradition of releasing sky lanterns for well-wishing and luck, Lights in the Night is a hands-on event designed to unite Grand Rapids in a city-wide commitment to hope. On September 21st, at dusk, the event page promises “thousands of lighted Chinese Sky Lanterns will take flight over the Grand Rapids skyline representing the hopes, dreams and wishes of our community”.

While it is the vision of artists Mark Carpenter and Dan Johnson that initiated this spectacle, it is up to Grand Rapids to make it happen! You can click here to sponsor lanterns for $10!

The Awesome Mitten(Lights in the Night)
Photo Courtesy of Lights in the Night

These lanterns are biodegradable and made of flame resistant wool and rice paper. They are metal-free, have a pre-attached eco-friendly fuel cell that is easy to light, and come in recyclable packaging. The lanterns themselves are even biodegradable! You and your loved ones or friends can release your lanterns at either Gillette Bridge, Bridge Street Bridge or Ah-Nab-Awen Park around 5:30pm on the 21st; be ready to go at dusk, which is around 6:30pm. In the words of the artists, “Think of it as the very large scale version of blowing out the candles and making a wish…only this time you offer up your dreams and hopes for the future or even reconcile events of your past in a symbolic lantern launch”.

The Awesome Mitten(Lights in the Night)
Photo Courtesy of Lights in the Night

Lights in the Night charity affiliates include the Susan G. Komen for the Cure West Michigan, Make-A-Wish Michigan and Spectrum Health Foundation. Follow Lights in the Night on Twitter or Like them on Facebook to stay on top of any release updates or changes! If you want to see the artists venue, stop by the B.O.B; or if you’re blown away by the display (as I’m sure we all will be), vote for Lights in the Night with the number 52910. Out of the 1,517 entries, I hope you at least make it to see this- what an amazing thing to see our city literally lit up with hope!
Lyndsay Israel-Feature Writer