Innovations In Light To Illuminate Downtown Tampa

Six artists will use the science and aesthetics of light to transform downtown Tampa' Curtis Hixon Park into a venue of color and spectacle on Feb. 19  at the annual Lights On Tampa public art event.

Featured artists include Pablo Valbuena of Madrid, Spain, who is crafting a temporary display for the Poe Parking Garage. Tampa's Juliet Davis and Stephanie Tripp along with Northeasterners Eva Lee and Molly Schwartz are creating video animations for a Tampa portal. Located on the Riverwalk, the portal is a digital gateway to the arts, which will, in time, be a permanent fixture at the park. New to this year's program is a multigenerational, multicultural community event led by the University of Tampa's Susan Taylor Lennon. This interactive activity involves a community "unsquare dance."

"Lights On Tampa is a wonderful community event where people have the opportunity to not only get a feel for the city of Tampa itself, but to really engage and experience the best of new media/contemporary art at their own pace, with their own friends and family," says Lights On Tampa spokesperson Robin Nigh. "And best of all, it's free."

Previous Lights On Tampa events have resulted in several permanent exhibits that can be seen around town, including a façade by Leo Vallareal at the Tampa Museum of Art, an 80-foot glass mural by Mari Gardner on the Glazer Children's Museum and a light-responsive sculpture on the Port Authority Garage by Ray King.

Nigh says the event was born out of a desire to create something bold, different and of outstanding quality that trumpeted the assets of the Tampa Bay region: its weather, natural light, technology-based knowledge and the industries located in the region. "The people pulled together and it all came about. It has always been a public / private partnership, where each brings to the table what they do best," says Nigh.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Robin Nigh, city of Tampa

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