Light Up Poole, the annual festival of digital light art, is set to return in February with three nights of extraordinary light spectacles and community events that will transform the town after dark.
More than 40,000 visitors experienced last year’s incredible displays and for Light Up Poole 2020 organisers are extending the light up time and expanding the programme with talks, workshops and ticketed events including a family rave.
Funded by Arts Council England and main sponsor Poole BID, with additional contributions from BCP Council and private businesses, Light Up Poole will run from 20 to 22 February and showcase the work of local, emerging and international artists with a series of newly created digital light art installations and projections as well as creative participation events that encourage visitors to make their own work that casts Poole in a new light.
“This year’s Light Up Poole was a truly magical experience and 2020’s event is set to be even more dazzling and memorable,” says Poole BID manager Ailsa Wilson.
‘Just walking down the High Street was a spine-tingling experience, seeing crowds of people who’d come from our community but also far and wide to be part of this inspiring event. Listening to the buzz and excitement in the street was a pure delight.”
Light Up Poole is presented by Audacious, the community interest company dedicated to delivering high quality, accessible experiences that enable people to engage with light as a creative medium.
“It’s about breaking down the barriers between art and science, adding an A for Art to the STEM subjects,” says Libby Battaglia of Audacious. “Many of our visitors are young people and their families so by fusing art, technology and innovation Light Up Poole triggers curiosity about how art is presented and shows there are careers to be made in this field.”
This year Light Up Poole artists are responding to the theme ‘Spectrum’ with work that addresses diversity in terms of age, faith, social exclusion and migration.
“Light and colour both occur across a spectrum and so do human emotions so we are working with artists that address the full range – the physics of light as well as how it feels,” adds Libby.
“Artists show us things we think are familiar in a new light. They see the world differently and use that creative vision to show something new about the places we live.”
This year Light Up Poole is working with Poole Museum and new partners Mathmos, inventors of the lava lamp and based in Poole since 1963, whose designers will unveil a lava lamp window installation and lounge in the Museum during the festival weekend; while Poole-based Siemens Mobility Limited is to theme its 2019/20 STEM engagement activities around the theme of ‘Spectrum’ to align with Light Up Poole.
Other community partners include local conservation charity Birds of Poole Harbour, leading partners in an osprey translocation project to restore a breeding population of ospreys in the south of England. Artist Michael Condron, who is known for his dynamic, larger-than-life pieces, is using work by conservationists to create a sculpture of an osprey to be bathed in light and installed on Poole Quay.
In advance of Light Up Poole and led by Soundstorm Music Education Hub and Wave Arts Education Agency, primary school children will engage with creative music workshops and write poems to music inspired by the migration journey of the osprey. Birds of Poole Harbour will exhibit the poetry in its HQ and hope to share this new artwork with partner schools in West Africa where the ospreys typically spend their winter.
Light Up Poole is also proud to welcome veteran fire artists Ben Rigby and Mandy Dike, collectively known as And Now:, to create a contemplative fire garden in St James’s Gardens that explores notions of faith and invites visitors to contribute to an evolving sculptural installation.
Other confirmed highlights include the return of Wild Strawberry, whose ‘Weather Machine’ (left) was a highlight of Light Up Poole 2019, with a giant 60s-influenced overhead extravaganza called ‘Psychedeli-tron’ above Poole High Street, and Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere will follow his stunning ‘Rhizome’ structures from last year with a new commission called ‘AdBlock’ and ‘The People’s Florist’ in which members of the public can paint their own designs inside an illuminated box.
Elsewhere, there are Light Up Poole debuts for bipolar artist Mig Burgess who will be creating ‘talking’ trees from public feedback and artist Mark Perry whose ‘Sea Shells’ project finds him working with writer Gemma Aldred to capture the often unheard and isolated voices of Poole’s homeless and elderly communities.
:: Light Up Poole is produced by Audacious community interest company, with the support of lead partner and sponsor Poole BID. It receives funding from Arts Council England and a grant from BCP Council and works in partnership with Mathmos; Siemens Mobility Limited; Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts; Poole Museum, Bournemouth University; Arts University Bournemouth; Southampton University; Soundstorm Music Education Hub and Wave Arts Education Agency; the Institute of Physics and Arts and City Cruises.