Illuminus Boston Lights Up Downtown Crossing

By Beth Treffeisen

Boston artists, designers and performers showed off their innovative and imaginative works by transforming downtown Boston into a vibrant urban canvas of light, sound and projection on the evenings of Friday Nov. 3 and Saturday Nov. 4.

The Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID), luminArtz, and ILLUMINUS kicked off the event in Walgreens Plaza on Friday evening, that enthralled thousands of people with illuminated video projections onto building facades, roving bicycle dance troupes, interactive art installations and more.

“I think beginning tonight folks you’re going to see what makes this city so special,” said Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. “What I’m really talking about is when you talk about elevating the arts and culture in this city along with the work of obviously with the work of Mayor Walsh, I think this is going to be a great example on what makes Boston a special place and what makes Massachusetts a special place.”

The ILLUMINUS Light Festival was set up at several locations throughout downtown Boston from Summer Street Plaza between Hawley and Washington streets, and on Washington Street from Temple Place to Spring Lane.

“BID is all about clean, safe, and welcoming spaces and one way to do that is to create destination events,” said Anita Lauricella, senior planner and project manager for BID. “We want to make the space welcoming to everybody.”

Lauricella said that BID has been thinking about using light to show off the historic buildings in the area for a long time.

“People go through the area for shopping or commuting and they really don’t get a chance to stop and look up at the buildings,” said Lauricella. “We thought ILLUMINUS was the perfect fit.”

Lauricella said ILLUMINUS is family friendly, beautiful and has a talented group of staff that is able produce high-quality work.

“This is an opportunity for artists to reclaim the city for the evening and paint a canvas through our lens,” said Jeff Grantz, executive director and founder of ILLUMINUS. We are excited to share our night with you and next year we will be growing even more.”

Over the weekend 15 different installations including two roving acts of lights and dance transformed the shopping area into an interactive art-installation.

One act was “Ideas, Not Theories & its Bicycle Orchestra” by Reynaliz Herrera that featured eight percussionists drumming on six bicycles used as musical instruments.

Another installation called “Gridlock” is an integration of a physical musical instrument, “Sound Sculpture” into an urban environment. The public was invited to explore and create with the piece, while large-scale position relative video projections are mapped on to the adjacent wall.

The Old Corner Bookstore was featured in “Look Again” an Augmented Reality invention sponsored by Historic Boston that reveals the store past and envisions its future that viewers can see through their phones.

“You can look up and see the character of the building change throughout history,” said Lauricella.

Lauricella said that BID likes to emphasis historic connections downtown. Projects like these gives people a sense of connectivity of the past to what is presently there now.

In the future, Lauricella said that BID will continue to try to attract more people downtown by including more public art installations.

“Public art makes people feel welcomed,” said Lauricella on the day of the event. “Tonight, people will look at the buildings in a different way and see how pretty the facades look all light up. Hopefully, when they come back next week they’ll be able to see it in a new light.”

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