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Glow, Calgary Downtown Winter Light Festival

Members of the public line up to view Light Shower, one of the exhibits mounted as part of Glow, Downtown Winter Light Festival, in Calgary on Feb. 20, 2017.

If you’d told me 10 years ago Calgarians would willingly line up more than half-an-hour to experience a shower of light, I wouldn’t have believed you — and I would have been wrong.

There I was, just one of hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of people who patiently queued up this past weekend to experience a piece of modern art called Light Shower, part of Glow: Downtown Winter Light Festival, an interactive, multi-disciplinary, multi-location display of modern art in Calgary.

You often hear complaints about public art being inaccessible, both figuratively and literally, but from what I witnessed this weekend, it can safely be said Glow was just the opposite. While not every piece was a smashing success, people seemed to keep an open mind about what they were seeing, based on fragments of conversations overheard as I wandered from installation to installation.

On top of it all, it was awesome to see so many people — including families with young children — out enjoying our downtown core well into the evening.

With hope, this event will make a comeback for many years to come … and given Glow’s apparent success, perhaps now’s the time to introduce more of such events, to breathe some life into Calgary central business district outside business hours.

Glow, Calgary Downtown Winter Light Festival