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Arts & Culture

Luminaria: Transitioning Into A New Event Each Year

This weekend, a citywide celebration of art, light and music will illuminate and energize downtown. Describing an event that’s complex and constantly morphing into something new isn’t easy, but Luminaria’s Ethel Shipton tells me how it all works.

“Luminaria this year is around the corner, Nov. 7-8. There are some events happening at the Tobin Center, some beautiful sculptures and videos. And down on the river we have some sound works and another video by Anne Wallace, a local artist."

Five Stages promises lots of music. Here’s a partial list of performers.

“There are some amazing musicians coming through, including some favorites like Texas Tornadoes, and Girl in a Coma, Augie Meyers, Santa Cecilia — those are the main acts.”

Dozens of artists will be showing throughout several blocks of Luminaria, and as she explains, there are larger artworks going up as well.

“We have some amazing murals that are going up now by Vazko, which is a Chilean artist, and Dr. Lakra from Mexico City. And he’s got murals in L.A. and San Diego and all over the world. And then we are going to be having Shek Vega, who is going to be doing a mural for us as well.”

I asked her what was the genesis of creating murals for Luminaria.

“Sometimes artworks are in the streets before they’re in the galleries. What happens in the street sometimes becomes higher art.”

I noted that it seems everybody loves Luminaria, but why exactly does it keep shifting [in terms of what it emphasizes] from year to year?

“I don’t completely know the answer to that. This year is a transition year, in trying to take it from a totally volunteer basis to the next level, and having it be curated.”

I pointed out that with art at its core, you [Luminaria] won’t be the same from year-to-year.

“Yes, you’re not going to have the same thing come up every year, otherwise, it’s not an art festival, it’s something else. The caliber of artists that we have in town need to be celebrated, and recognized.”

And Luminaria does just that. We’ve more on the event here.