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Pools of Light and “Global Rainbows” Illuminate Downtown Festival

The Creators Project Content Partner, Intel iQ

Things seem to be turning up for Clevelend: Lebron’s back in town, the downtown area is receiving a steady stream of investments in its health, cultural and tourism industries and the growing residential population is transforming the midwestern metropolis into a bona fide boomtown. The cherry on top of these recent developments was the AHA! Festival of Progressive Arts, curated by a local team of curators and urban planners at LAND studio.

From August 7 to 9, the multi-day event illuminated both the new and old attractions of downtown Cleveland. The artists Jen Lewin, Yvette Mattern, Ivan Juarez and design studio Obscura Digital all utilized light and projections to attract Cleveland’s community into the downtown area for the celebration.

“The Pool”

For Jen Lewin’s installation, “The Pool,” the audience hung out and jumped on the sculpture itself, making it a literal physical attraction. She described the piece as an ethos-minded project:

“By entering the pool, you enter a world where community play and collaborative movement create swirling effects of light and color. Imagine a giant canvas where you can paint and splash light collaboratively.”

On the more conceptual end, Ivan Juarez‘s architectural sculptures filtered light in the Cleveland Public Library’s Eastman Reading Garden. According to LAND studio, “His aim is to produce an installation through which garden-users may reflect on their relationship with the surrounding city.”

Installed at the Great Lakes Science Center and shining into the Cleveland night sky was “Global Rainbow” (shown above), a static laser devised by Yvette Mattern that was viewable from up to 35 miles away. We’re convinced that this part of the festival may have called some aliens into the space. Or perhaps the aliens were already there:

Obscura Digital, a San Francisco alliance of artists and technologists responsible for transforming Pier 15’s historic facade into a portal of natural phenomena, aimed their luminous eyes at yet another historic landmark in Ohio. “Transformations” took place on Cleveland’s Public Auditorium and animated it with imagery 370 feet wide of natural and man-made ephemera.

Held alongside the installations were events such as a massive yoga class, an illuminated bike night ride and other creative events. Make sure to check out artists Jen Lewin, Yvette Mattern, Ivan Juarez and Obscura Digital, as well as the curators from LAND studio.

Meanwhile, Cleveland … we’re keeping our eyes on you.


Photos by Frank Lanza via

By Matthew James Clarke


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