Baltimore’s nights were light-filled for a week this spring as it was showcased in the first large-scale international light festival in the United States.
Light City Baltimore was conceived by Brooke Hall and Justin Allen of the boutique marketing and creative agency What Works Studio. Their plan was to transform Baltimore into a place that highlighted the city’s great leaders, philanthropists, art and ideas.
A team of more than 500 people helped welcome over 400,000 visitors that generated $33.8 million in economic impact.
“On the heels of the uprising last year, I think it was a great catharsis to see people at the harbor enjoying on another’s company,” said Allen.
Brooke and Allen also developed What Weekly magazine in 2010 to fuel the renaissance of Baltimore and the idea for an innovative festival grew out of that. With help from leaders throughout the city, they won grants and awards, found private sponsors and executed a festival feasibility study with world-renowned event expert and creative director of VIVID Sydney, Ignatius Jones.
Fashioned after European light festivals, Baltimore’s Light City was produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts and featured 28 large-scale art installations, the 15-mile BGE light art walk, concerts, conferences, performances and workshops, as well as innovative interactive technology.
It will return in spring 2017, and Hall and Allen hope the annual event will help rewrite Baltimore’s narrative.
“We’re really thinking about year 20 and the impact it can have long term,” Allen said.