‘Light Fest’ again dazzles on Willamette’s east bank

You’ll be delighted with the creations of the artists we met – some from outer East Portland – at this chilly outdoor spectacular “show of lights” …

This new exhibit encampment was located east of Eastbank Esplanade, and north of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge of the People.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The three-day Portland Winter Light Festival, held along and near the Eastbank Esplanade, showed off the imagination of area makers and creators – who were displaying their illuminated works of art, attracting thousands of visitors who braved sub-freezing temperatures on opening night, February 7.

“This year – our fourth annual festival – more than 100 illuminated installations, artists, performers, interactive activities, and events brightened the cityscape, helping Portlanders escape the dark drab days of winter!” beamed festival spokesperson Michelle David.

Chris LohKamp, a mentor of the Metal Beavers FIRST Robotics League team in Lents , and partner Ryan Ramage proudly show off their “Dragon Twist Chandelier”, which has been featured at Burning Man.

Foster-Powell neighbors Charlene Hougland and Daphne were playing with shadow puppet figures on an overhead projector.

Along the Eastbank Esplanade, people stop to discover how this exhibit, “Discovery Through Vantage Points”, focuses visual attention by obscuring one’s peripheral vision.

“This free all-ages festival, an annual program of the ‘Willamette Light Brigade’, has expanded from the area near OMSI south to the Tilikum Crossing Bridge of the People, and also to areas west of the Willamette River,” Ms. David told East Portland News.

Sharp blasts of freezing winter wind didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of people who came to enjoy the festival. Many found fire- and heat-oriented sculptures and locations particularly attractive places for spectators to linger.

Richard Cawley from the Portal Arts Collective in East Portland’s Watershed Building tells visitors about the rotating fire pit he calls “Cosmic Fire Turtle”; the stainless steel globe is decorated with figures of endangered animals “to help raise environmental awareness – as well as help keep people warm!”

Wheeling around mobile artworks are Richard Miner, showing the “Obelisk” that provides “the wisdom of the ages” – and Tom Barnes, with “Jellyfish”, inspired by his fondness of anime art.

Drawing interest and recognition from across the region, the artists are almost exclusively from the Pacific Northwest, commented Ms. David. “The combination of unique art installations, and family-friendly atmosphere, continues to attract visitors and artists to this show.”

The festival continued for its full scheduled run, in spite of a “Winter Weather Warning” posted for the area. However, it did close two hours early, due to inclement weather, on February 9 – the final evening of the show.

The “East Zone Performance Stage” lights up with entertainment.

Keep it in mind for next year; it’s usually held on the second weekend in February. Learn more by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

> On our Front Page: After a spectator mentally inputs a thought, it ignites the “Good/Bad Idea Machine” flame, on this device built by “The Ministry of Stupid Ideas”.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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