Glow2017 – Downtown Winter Light Festival

The Cause

The Calgary Downtown Association (CDA) is pleased to launch the inaugural run of Glow2017 – A downtown winter light festival over the Family Day long weekend 2017. This is a new project for Calgary, and a first of its kind in our City. Light festivals have been known to have a saying – “if you do something with light at night, people will come down. If you light it right, they will come twice.” We have developed a comprehensive event plan that will offer those of all demographics something to come back for. Collaborating with both the public and private sectors, corporate properties and non-profit art groups, the City core will shine with over 10 art light installations placed throughout the downtown, all connected via our unique Plus15 network. This connection allows ease of access using partners such as hotels, parking facilities and C-train access for weather mitigation. It will also enhance our public space and animate the unique architecture of our urban landscape.
Additional to the installations, we have distinct free and accessible opportunities to enhance the experience. From our family skate night at Olympic Plaza, illuminated cultural performances in the Plus15, or an educational PechaKucha symposium focusing on the importance of light, the opportunity to be participate in making art at our 4 day festival is sure to be the bright spot for everybody’s family day weekend. Our main festival hubs will allow people to gather for information, refreshments and creative exploration. This is where we will showcase light works provided by local childrens’ art and social organizations.
This will be an event that is well embraced and expandable to benefit Calgarians’ over the years, attracting visitors and creating happiness and vitality in the downtown.

Who Will it Benefit?

Markets have shown that light festivals are major social attractors to any city, big or small. Light festivals have a positive effect on their host cities attracting many visitors and international publicity. Light is symbolically an important source of life for both the urban vitality and an individuals’ mental health. Whether it be (SAD) seasonal affective disorders or the effects of subzero temperatures on barren concrete, the warm glow of bright light is often the remedy. Glow2017 investment into the downtown will provide an undulation of economic and social stimulus to downtown.
We chose the Family Day long weekend as it is symbolic for inclusion, the importance of families, people, societies and cultures. In public spaces we escape the insular environments of our work and home and enjoy the opportunity to meet, greet and encounter new people. Our downtown should be a place where everyone is welcome and has opportunity to engage. This creates a sense of social inclusion, and even social capital which improves our community and helps to break down social barriers that far too often divide us.
Our marketing platforms will provide awareness and introduction to the many talented creative minds and art organizations that exist in our City.
Our diverse planning will also require a temporary workforce of over 25 individuals for the lead up and festival weekend. We hope to continue our partnership with some of the social agencies, such as the Drop-In Centre, in which we have employed workers in the past through their work programs and offer others’ paid work or volunteer opportunities.
Our light festival allows passive and interactive observation, is weather contended and uses multiple collaborative partnerships from non-profit art societies, local creative minds, corporate entities, City and Provincial public spaces to ensure its success