Napa Lighted Art Festival returns in January

"The Language of Love," one of nine installations comprising the inaugural Napa Lighted Art Festival, covered historic First Presbyterian Church with translations of the word "love" into a variety of tongues from around the world. The festival will return to downtown in January, with at least 12 installations planned, including a reprise of "The Language of Love." 

The return next month of the Napa Lighted Art Festival will bring more art and light to city streets – as well as music, lectures and a new parade to lead visitors through the event’s open-air gallery.

Organizers will increase the scope of the outdoor festival’s second edition to at least 16 installations in downtown, the Oxbow neighborhood and other areas, up from the nine that comprised its December 2017 debut, the Downtown Napa Association announced last week. Each display will include a Napa building or landmark transformed into a giant canvas through the use of projectors throwing animated images, motifs or patterns.

Jointly organized by the city and the Napa Tourism Improvement District, the Lighted Art Festival will run Jan. 12-20, 2019. Exhibits will be displayed from 6 to 10 p.m on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

Event planners moved the exhibition back from its original December date to attract visitors in a less hectic time of the winter, and to separate it from Christmas-season attractions such as holiday light displays, the city Parks and Recreation department has said.

Highlighting the festival will be the debut of the Lantern Parade, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18. The procession will pass by light exhibits on a route that begins and ends at downtown Veterans Memorial Park, and marchers are asked to carry homemade lanterns to illuminate the parade route.

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Those wishing to march in the Lantern Parade can find an online lantern pattern guide at cityofnapa.org/lanternparade, and New Technology High School students are creating more lanterns for business owners to display in downtown store and office windows, according to city officials. Any such lighted devices should be battery-powered, and no open flames will be allowed.

Joining the festival slate is Art After Dark, a nighttime stroll of the Napa Valley Art Trail to view seven murals created as part of the Rail Arts District. The January event also will debut a series of symposia on projection art, light, stained glass and other topics, and live concerts will be scheduled downtown during the festival.

Among the artistic backdrops at the new festival will be some of the hot-air balloons that float tourists on aerial tours of the wine country. Night Bloom, slated for the Oxbow Commons downtown park, will feature tethered balloons arranged to light the evening sky. Balloons will be displayed starting at 6 p.m. Jan. 12-13 and Jan. 19-20, weather permitting.

The festival’s reach also will extend farther south in the city to The Village at Vista Collina Resort, which will host the artwork “Constellation” by Christopher Schardt. The light sculpture will take the form of a canopy dotted with numerous light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

Other showpieces will include “Museum of the Moon,” an illuminated one-to-500,000 image of the moon by Luke Jerram that will be shown at CIA at Copia; “Hyperbinary,” which the Czech artist collective Triton Genos will exhibit at Napa’s Riverfront on Main Street; and a return engagement at First Presbyterian Church of Birgit Zander’s “The Language of Love,” a depiction of the words for love in numerous languages that was shown during the 2017 Napa festival.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.