LUNA Fête 2015: New Orleans Festival Expanding, Shining New Light on Local Arts Culture

LUNA (Light Up NOLA Arts) Fête returns this November to once again position iconic local architecture as a canvas for an impressive display of cutting-edge, outdoor light installations across the city. In its memorable inaugural 2014 year, LUNA Fête pulled in more than 15,000 visitors from across the country. A visionary initiative by the Arts Council New Orleans, LUNA Fête 2015 merges contemporary light, motion graphics and video-mapping practices in a series of vibrant installations in Lafayette Square and along the historic Julia Street and Oretha Castle Haley corridors Nov. 29-Dec. 5.

Inspired by the world-renowned, Fête des Lumières in Lyon, France, which attracts approximately four million visitors annually, New Orleans is one of only three American cities to undertake the daunting task of creating a similar “festival of lights.” The New York Festival of Lights (NYFoL) and Boston’s Illuminus also launched in 2014, attracting 60,000 and 10,000 visitors, respectively.

“New Orleans has a celebrated history of art and architecture and we applaud the Arts Council of New Orleans for continuing to bring our architectural history to the forefront through programs like the annual LUNA Fete. This festival also adds another element of holiday celebration in New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

LUNA Fête 2015 will feature work from a variety of local and world-renowned artists, including major installations from OCUBO, the leading Portuguese multimedia atelier specializing in interactive, participatory installations; Jen Lewin an internationally renowned light and interactive sculptor; and Miwa Matreyek, whose projects integrate animation and live performance via projection.

OCUBO’s New Orleans installation will illuminate the facade of Ashé’s Power House Theatre at 1847 Polymnia Street and was developed in conjunction with local children, supporting LUNA Fête’s ongoing objective to create an education initiative that engages youth. The projection will unfold as a theatrical play, with children from Ashé’s KUUMBA Institute and St. Martin’s Academy playing essential roles in the film, not only as actors, but also as creators of the graphic material serving as the foundation of the animation which accompanies work by local artist Terrance Osborne and animations produced by OCUBO’s multimedia team in Portugal.

OCUBO has produced major projects in Portugal, such as the “Arch of Light” projected on the façade of Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio, attracting about 500,000 spectators in 2013. The OCUBO studio has executed projects across the globe in Australia, Singapore, Japan, Israel, Germany, and Ireland.

“It’s no secret that New Orleans has a vibrant arts scene,” said Kim Cook, president and chief executive officer of the Arts Council. “LUNA Fête fuses the city’s growing tech community with the existing cultural experience. By showcasing cutting-edge technology, we advance New Orleans’ reputation, not only as an epicenter of artistry, but also as a burgeoning hot spot for tech and entrepreneurship to rival major metropolitan cities throughout the country.”

Lafayette Square, the heart of the expanding LUNA Fête campus presented by The New Orleans Advocate and Ochsner Health System, will feature Lewin’s “The Pool”, an environment of giant, concentric circles created from interactive circular pads.  “The Pool” creates a world where play and collaborative movement create swirling effects of light and color.  As multiple users play in “The Pool,” their interactions become mesmerizing patterns of shifting and fading colors.

Culminating the series of installations, Matreyek will present a magical performance at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans Dec. 4-5. Matreyek creates animated short films, which explore how animation changes when it is combined with body and space. Her work has been featured at a variety of international festivals, including REDCAT, Time-Based Arts Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe, among many others.

During LUNA Fête, Matreyek will present “Myth and Infrastructure” and “This World Made Itself,” live performance pieces in which the artist’s shadow is constantly present as the world around her shifts and transforms. She becomes an integral part of fantastical animation worlds as she traverses oceanscapes, cityscapes, and domestic spaces to conjure dreamlike scenes with light and shadow.

Envisioned as an opportunity to both foster international economic commerce and increase arts awareness, the Arts Council’s LUNA Fête aims to grow the scope of worldwide partnerships in order to expand the festival’s footprint within New Orleans in the years leading up to the city’s historic tricentennial anniversary in 2018. As one of the few U.S. cities to offer an installation on this scale, the Arts Council aims to ultimately create a world-class, international destination event comparable to Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, with LUNA Fête also sparks cross-sector collaboration between New Orleans’ dynamic creative industries and activates light-based solutions for improving civic life.

LUNA Fête 2015 Sponsors include: The National Endowment for the Arts, Ochsner Health System, Eugenie & Joseph Jones Family Foundation, The New Orleans Advocate, IBERIABANK, Second Line Stages, Jones Walker, LUCID, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Goldring Family Foundation, New Orleans Arts District Association, Chevron, William Grant & Sons, DEVENEY, Consulat Géneral de France á La Nouvelle Orleans, Downtown Development District, City of New Orleans, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Valentino Hotel Group, and Louisiana Division of the Arts.

Arts Council New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. As a multidisciplinary arts agency, the Arts Council operates in three conceptual areas: People– Community Engagement and the Creative Citizen, Place– Civic Design and the Urban Aesthetic, and Artists– Artistic Excellence and Creative Services. Each area works to advance the Arts Council’s overall mission to nurture creativity and enrich lives through inspiration, connection, transformation, and investment in the New Orleans arts and cultural community. For more information on the Arts Council New Orleans, or to join as a member of the organization call: (504)523-1465 or 
visit: www.artsneworleans.org