While life downtown always seems to be growing, this new festival drew more people to discover the core after dark.
GLOW occurred nightly at multiple Calgary downtown locations from 6:30 p.m. through 11 p.m. each night of its run.
Maggie Schofield, the executive director of the Calgary Downtown Association was excited about the event, based on the popularity of a similar exhibit called Solar Flare held in 2013.
“People just love it. It is a surprise, it was just so attractive, and [it’s] just really fun in the dead of winter,” said Schofield.
The installations included tropical scenes, light showers, figures appearing out of the darkness, a door to different experiences, lamps, lit trees, an ice palace, light that reacted to smiles, an oversized chandelier made of chopsticks, a sculpture that responded to movement, street lamps creating constellations and Beakerhead’s Nibbles the bunny.
One of the main objectives of GLOW was to bring more people into the downtown area to have an exciting experience.
“We really want to bring more people down here and to have a reason to come, not just for work during the day but to come at different hours,” said Schofield.
The downtown area has so much to offer to Calgarians and Schofield wants everyone to experience what Calgary has to offer.
“Whether there are people that generally come here [downtown] or whether they’re new people, we want them to have a really good experience. Our downtown is a great place to be,” said Schofield.
The light festival also gave downtown businesses and restaurants a lot of exposure.
The festival included 12 art installations created by 21 various artists from around the world.
The festival had something for everybody to enjoy and some installations so interactive that people could physically touch and move around them.
I think that light just helps us move out [from] the dull times of winter and light is just, it’s wonderful and it’s warm and exciting. – Maggie Schofield.
Every individual could have a different experience at GLOW, with their families or as a date night.
There was also a chance for visitors to meet the artists behind the installations at the AfterGlow lounge at Contemporary Calgary the first two nights of the show.
While the installations are temporary Schofield is hopeful that the event will become an annual event.
“I think that light just helps us move out [from] the dull times of winter and light is just, it’s wonderful and it’s warm and exciting,” said Schofield.