Jeramey Jannene

Immersive Art and Light Exhibit Will Transform Mitchell Street

Two night event takes place in early September.

By - Aug 11th, 2023 02:15 pm
Nightlight. Image courtesy of Joy Engine.

Nightlight. Image courtesy of Joy Engine.

The organization that brought the moon to the Historic Third Ward and larger-than-life birds to Lakeshore State Park is planning to light up Historic Mitchell Street in September.

Nitelight, a two-night festival, will take place on Sept. 8 and 9.

Called a “dazzling live spectacle,” the free evening event will feature immersive lighting projected on the Kunzelman Esser Lofts, 710 W. Historic Mitchell St. A festival will surround the central art exhibit.

Described as “4D projection mapping technology,” the family-friendly exhibition aims to embrace the connection between art and technology. Five Milwaukee-area artists have been selected to program the installation.

“As the summer festival season winds down, Nitelight invites Milwaukeeans out for one more remarkable celebration to enjoy together,” said Steph Salvia, executive director of Joy Engine, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be hosting the city’s first, large-scale outdoor arts and lights festival to put our local artists in the limelight. This event embodies Milwaukee’s diverse, collaborative spirit and demonstrates our city’s capacity to bring world-class arts and culture to the Midwest, giving attendees a multi-sensory experience they won’t forget.”

A fashion show, live music, dance performances, a massive Lite Brite and a mix of vendors will accompany the post-sundown light show. Each evening’s event will run from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Artists working on the signature show, which will run at least three times each night, include Ted Brusubardis, Dave Kiehl, Wes Tank, Brianna Cole and Brian Nau. Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design students Zara Dixon, James Hill, Darryl Wedgeworth and Paolo Vacala are also working on the effort.

Reflecting the neighborhood’s ever-evolving diversity, first as a hub for Milwaukee’s Polish community and now as a central artery for Milwaukee’s Latino community, programming will be available in English and Spanish.

The nonprofit host says its aim is “igniting the imaginations of Milwaukeeans and leveraging underutilized urban spaces to expand perceptions of community and creative expression through public art.”

For an example of what the experience could look like, Joy Engine points to a video of international lighting projection exhibits by Limelight.

Joy Engine, previously known as Black Box Fund, brought a moon sculpture (and an astronaut) to Catalano Square in the Historic Third Ward in 2019 and, in 2021, five-foot-tall birds to Lakeshore State Park. Two of the birds remain perched along N. Water Street near the Milwaukee Public Market. The organization has sponsored several other art exhibits and installations.

More information is available on the event website.

Mitchell Street Arts, a new nonprofit arts organization, is a partner on the event and will open its center on the first floor of the Kunzelman Esser building next week.

NOTE: Urban Milwaukee is a media partner for the event.

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