Art Aglow

“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit”

                                 ~ John Updike


Historic buildings, crowded walkways, countless shops. What happens when you add art to the mix? 

Last weekend, one of Boston’s major tourist destinations transformed into a magical urban escape for Illuminus. Since 2014, the nighttime festival has brought together artists and designers to revive the city’s iconic neighborhoods (recap on the debut at SoWa Arts District-Art After Dark)This year, Illuminus partnered with nonprofit LuminArtz and the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID) to bring the program to Downtown Crossing.

Here are some event highlights:

Lantern Story: Furen Dai

Artist Furen Dai hits close to home with Lantern Story. Displaying handmade lanterns against an audio backdrop, the piece features local sentiments around the visa process (Lantern Story). With immigration reform being a hot topic, it’s moving to hear those affected speak rawly about their journeys and the uncertainties that lie ahead.

Solar Forest: Vanessa Till Hooper

Made up of over 300 lanterns, the installation puts an artistic spin on alternative energy. The quiet nature of Norman B. Leventhal Park serves as the perfect setting for this enchanting project (Solar Forest). 

The steps on Washington Street

With a splash of neon, the popular rest stop turned into a glowing social scene. Reminiscent of the Red Steps in Times Square, NYC, the city witnessed how light can energize everyday spaces. I hope the buzz generated from Illuminus encourages Boston to continue promoting public arts initiatives. For more information on the works featured at the festival, head here (Projects2017).


How has public art impacted you? Could you see Illuminus coming to your neighborhood? 


Leave a comment below!

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    • Thanks for your comment Moumita. Illuminus put on a wonderful program in Downtown Crossing. It’s definitely an arts festival to look forward to.

  1. Thx for the great post, Tatia! Illuminus looks like an incredible festival. I think Toronto has something that is similar. Love the opening quote from John Updike.

    • Thanks for your comment Doreen. It’s exciting to see Illuminus make its mark on Boston’s arts scene. Which festival in Toronto are you referring to?

    • Thanks for reading Jeri. You should plan a trip down the road and see how much the city has changed.

  2. In the UK there are beautiful gardens in West London by the name of Kew Gardens. In winter everything is lit up and I am told it is beautiful. I am yet to visit.

  3. I’ve been to Boston several times but it’s been years since my last visit. Wonderful city, lousy place to drive. 🙂 Could I see that type of art installation where I live. Nope. I live in a wooded area on a mountain and while I’ve seen photos of a few impressive forest installations done by Japanese artists, I think most of my neighbors would fight tooth and nail to prevent anything that would draw crowds of looky-loos to shake up our beautiful peaceful environment. Thanks for sharing these lovely images!

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