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.
In trendy downtown Tempe, Arizona, stands the shell of what used to be the Hayden Flour Mill. The historic hulk, which occupies the southeast corner of Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue (appropriately), can be seen up close. There’s a small park adjacent to the building and there are placards along the outside detailing the history of the place. You can even peek inside through the windows to survey the all machinery abandoned and left in place. According to the City of Tempe, the site is awaiting appropriate redevelopment.