With three nights of digital light art on the streets of Poole, as well as a series of supporting talks and presentations at Lighthouse, more than 52,000 people visited the town during the Light Up Poole festival last month.
An average of 7,000 people filed through St James’ Church in wonder at the beautiful and moving installation What Do You Have Faith In? by And Now: fire artists; while some 8,500 people a night visited artist Mig Burgess’ 1in4, an exploration of mental health using new sensor technology, in Orchard Plaza.
"The streets were filled with excitement and light,” said Jeanette Walsh, director of Poole BID, the main sponsor of Light Up Poole, who owns Truly Scrumptious sweet shop on Poole High Street.
“As a business owner it was great to see so many people in Poole over the three nights. We stayed open until 10pm each night and felt very much part of the event and the community.”
Poole Town Councillor Mark Howell, Deputy Leader of BCP Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Culture, added: “In three short years Light Up Poole has become a signature event for Poole, enabling residents and visitors to experience the town centre’s historic and natural environment through the medium of contemporary light artwork.
“BCP Council is pleased to have supported this year’s festival, which included mesmeric, impactful and entertaining work, and we look forward to working with Audacious, the organiser, on the 2021 festival.”
This year’s Light Up Poole also included work on show in the Dolphin Shopping Centre where the manager John Grinnell said: “We pride ourselves on helping to bring the community together and were pleased to continue our support for the annual festival that celebrates Poole’s diverse landscape and community spirit. It really is a great, family-friendly event and it was fantastic to see so many people joining in with Light Up Poole at the Centre.”
Launching the festival, Adam Gent relationship manager at Arts Council England, which funds Light Up Poole. said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to see Light Up Poole grow and establish itself. The best projects break down the barriers between people and publicly funded culture – Light Up Poole feels like the future.”
The festival will return in February 2021 with three more nights of spectacular digital light art, illuminating community projects and innovative learning. Inspired as much by the weather as Poole’s astonishingly diverse flora and fauna, the theme will be ‘Mother Nature’.
“We have to thank the storms for showing us we need to design the festival to be resilient to the weather,” said Libby Battaglia, creative director of Audacious CIC, that produces Light Up Poole.
“The whole reason we started this was because we wanted to prove art can make things happen, that it can make a difference to the economy and the lives of the community and now we have the amazing support of local businesses and traders decorating their windows and staying open on three nights in February.
“Light Up Poole belongs to Poole and everyone associated with the festival feels incredibly proud of it and the community that supports it.”
Funded by Arts Council England and main sponsor Poole BID, with additional contributions from BCP Council and private businesses, Light Up Poole is estimated to be worth around £1.6 million to the local economy.
Image: What Do We Have Faith In? by AndNow: Photo by Elliott Franks