Let there be Lights On Tampa

They've done it again! Lights, action, and fun come to downtown Tampa.

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click to enlarge The words of Tampa poet  Silvia Curbelo in "Uplit"  challenge the viewer to stop, reflect and see. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
The words of Tampa poet Silvia Curbelo in "Uplit" challenge the viewer to stop, reflect and see.


Lights on Tampa is making its return this weekend to Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Garden in downtown Tampa. Inaugurated by the city nine years ago, the 2015 edition is the fifth installment of this fantastic urban light show.  In addition to creative illuminations, this year's LOT includes performances of Nick Cave's HEARD-TPA, a colorful herd of life-size horses and other shaggy beings brought to life by 60 local dancers. As in the past, some of the light displays will be permanent and others are temporary.

click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
Shadow Plays returned after its debut in 2011. It allows everyone to experiment with improvisational movement. As they do so, their shadows appear on the front of the screen for everyone to watch. Very popular and fun!
click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
One of the most popular activities was Sky Striker, in which light lovers could participate in a game similar to the classic carnival activity of taking a sledgehammer and swinging it hard enough to ring a bell. In Sky Striker, the harder you hit, the more lights came on in the Rivergate tower. In this image, Lou Fleming of Tampa lights up the building with colorful stripes. Every time the bell rung and the building lit up, the crowd cheered and broke out in applause. Sky Striker was created by Traction Architecture and engineered by Freeman.

click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
River Glow was created by Wannemacher Jensen Architects of St. Petersburg. It is an underwater installation meant to draw people to the Riverwalk. After Lights On Tampa ends, it will be reinstalled as a permanent feature along the pedestrian path.


click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
Recurrence is a field of light in a grid created by Luftwerk from Chicago. The design is based on the 12-hour timetable of a seven-day sequence of tides in the Hillsborough River. Each LED light parallels the tide measurement of the Hillsborough River in the corresponding time. The display is quite beautiful, and the haunting percussive score by Owen Clayton Condon creates a serene sonic backdrop as you walk through the display.

click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
Chelsea Smith, Julio Calderone, Billy Cortes, Leah Diaz, and Raiza Calderone create their own shapes using Urban Pixels provided by Urban Conga from Tampa.

click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
Chelsea Smith and Julio Calderone create hats using Urban Pixels from Urban Conga of Tampa. Urban Pixels are light prisms designed to attract attention and spark activity. People are encouraged to form their own shapes and create their own visions.

click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
Nick Cave from Chicago stages HEARD-TPA twice nightly. The 15-minute procession includes 30 colorful life-sized horses (actually 60 local dancers in costume) choreographed by Nick Cave and William Gill. They are accompanied by members of the WAHH! World Fusion Band.

click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
One of the most entertaining aspects of the night was unscripted. All night long the public gave impromptu performances in the colorfully lit amphitheater. Talent was not as important as the bravery to get up and sing or speak your piece. Performers were all cheered and the diversity of the talent was wonderful.

click to enlarge Let there be Lights On Tampa - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Let there be Lights On Tampa
Olive Hathaway, Liv Lambert, and Jon Hammer try out the amphitheater's acoustic "sweet spot" by singing one of their favorite songs.

Lights On Tampa is a public/private partnership between the City of Tampa’s Art Programs Division and the Public Art Alliance. It is around for one more night in the heart of downtown Tampa at Curtis Hixon Park. Tonight's activities are from 6-11 p.m., with performances by Nick Cave’s HEARD-TPA both nights at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. It is a family-friendly atmosphere with interactive games and displays, food trucks, hot chocolate, and alcoholic beverages available. Best of all, it's free!


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