March 1, 2024
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10 Reasons LUMA Projection Arts Festival Is The Place To Be

LUMA Projection Arts Festival is coming back for its eighth annual festival this weekend, Sept. 8-9, in Downtown Binghamton! This lights festival uses projection technology to create an incredibly unique audiovisual experience curated by the most innovative artists. As a student who transferred in during the pandemic, attending the festival in 2021 created an indelible memory. It was a great opportunity to deepen friendships and a breathtaking introduction to the ever-blossoming arts community in Binghamton! Regardless of whether you’ve gone in the past, here are several reasons why you should join me at LUMA this year.

Enjoy a completely unique experience

A crowd watches a projection of a fish onto a building.

LUMA is the only projection arts festival in the world, hosted right here in Binghamton! I am always mesmerized by the larger-than-life, three-dimensional art in motion across the buildings in Downtown Binghamton. Out of the many art experiences I have had, LUMA is one of the most unique and memorable. Check out this video to see some highlights from last year’s festival. Use this map to plan out your journey through the different projection features in Downtown Binghamton.

Attend for free!

Crowd stands inside colorfully lighted scaffolding and watches projection.

Since LUMA crowdfunds and receives support from donors, there is no cost associated with the event. Six of the seven exhibits are free and repeat at regular intervals, allowing time for you to migrate between showings and see everything the festival has to offer. Only one premium exhibit has a $5 ticketing fee. Tickets for “Beyond” by PLAYMODES can be purchased here to experience the biggest, most immersive features that LUMA has ever done and help support future events.

Make friends and experience the community

A crowd sits to watch a projection

As a Binghamton senior, the most fulfilling aspects of my college experience have been finding ways to engage with the local community and building lasting friendships. Binghamton is a home for students and it’s essential to make the most of the opportunities your home provides. Regardless of your interest in art, LUMA provides the opportunity to build connections with students, locals and people from around the world attending this stunning festival. Attending LUMA in 2021 was formative for many friendships that I treasure to this day. Over 35,000 people attend each year and the festival is ever-growing.

Support the arts community — the pride of Binghamton

Large crowd observes a projection of a mushroom forest.

LUMA supports local emerging artists, holding art competitions and displaying art to a wider audience online. The event draws an estimated $900,000 in economic impact in a single night. This kind of financial stimulus is huge for the Binghamton community, and by extension Binghamton University and students! Following the industrial downturn in the Southern Tier, Binghamton and surrounding communities have found solace and success in the arts and the human desire to create beautiful things. I think LUMA is a big part of this development, so show up and become an active part of Binghamton’s transformation!

See community in action with “Living Lights”

Crowd watches abstract 2D art projection on building.

In a project honoring Binghamton’s Peg Johnston, many artists are given a template to work with in order to reimagine the aesthetic or architecture of Binghamton. LUMA partnered with local non-profits (Broome County Urban League) to collect submissions from both adults and young children. These local artist renditions are then projected, creating a beautiful display of the community’s collective efforts!

Experience the return of Snow Raven, MINDSCAPE and MAXIN10SITY

Crowd watches a projection of an astronaut

LUMA often has returning artists, and it’s fascinating to see their creative journeys over the years. I am always excited to see how these artists return with new, bold, hyper-sensory displays. This year, MAXIN10SITY takes on the human journey of space exploration in “Infinite Horizons.” Snow Raven collaborates with MINDSCAPE to present “Web of Life,” an exploration of the relationships between nature, humanity and the individual.

See jazz in a new light

Abstract projection of a house.

Romera from Madrid, Spain brings a compelling interpretation of jazz music, adding a visual accompaniment to an auditory experience. As someone who plays and listens to jazz, I am especially looking forward to seeing Romera’s visual representation of the deep-rooted, improvisational nature of my favorite music genre.

Come support Binghamton’s own director!

Clothes hanging on a clothesline between buildings in Athens, Greece.

Ariana Gerstein, a professor of cinema at Binghamton University, has her own display this year, “What We Bring,” associated with her documentary project and inspired by a neighborhood street in Athens, Greece. I find her past experimental work to be poignant and deeply symbolic, so I am excited to see what she will do at LUMA this year. The display is meant to evoke a clothesline hanging between buildings, a spatial-visual stunt never attempted by any other LUMA art piece.

Enjoy events before and after the festival!

Randy McStine gazes down at his guitar.

Showings don’t start until 8, so check out one of the many concert events happening before the show starts! Check out Atomic Tom’s for local artist concerts and more. If LUMA isn’t enough for one night, there is AfterGlow, an after-party featuring dance music and drag at the Lost Dog Café.

Why Not?

A sea of people watch multiple projection displays in Downtown Binghamton.

After hearing all this, it seems unlikely that anyone could not be at the very least mildly interested in going to LUMA this year, if not determined to go. The displays are always impressive and inspiring, bringing the community together for a sublime and uplifting experience. It can’t hurt to see it for yourself.

Stephen Folkerts is an intern for the Office of Public Media and Relations, and a senior majoring in English. He hopes to work in ministry and publishing. In his spare time, he enjoys jazz drumming, poetry and basketball.

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