Georgetown Glow: Lighting Up The Holidays

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Fiona Flaherty

Lights at Georgetown Glow

Joseph Ramos, Sentry Staff Reporter

Immediately after the clearing of Thanksgiving plates, the holiday season began. With it comes the celebration of one another and an omnipresence of togetherness throughout society. Also, bright lights! A cherished annual tradition, holiday lights have proved to be a timeless way of spreading the joy of the season everywhere from the interior of one’s house to the canopy of front-yard trees.

However, for those who wish to avoid the many hours spent untangling never-ending strands of colored lights  just to find out that there is not a single spare outlet, Georgetown Glow offers a convivial alternative. In its 5th year, Georgetown Glow is an annual public holiday light event that features light art installations by various artists located across downtown Georgetown.

Primarily located around the Georgetown Waterfront and Canal areas, displays range from the lighted silhouette of a man jumping across store rooftops to a tribute to small business booths illuminated by the items held inside. Georgetown Glow runs from Dec. 1 through Jan. 6 at 5-10 p.m. nightly and is presented by the Georgetown Business Improvement District.

For those willing to brave brisk wintertime breezes, walking between the eleven different lighting displays of Georgetown Glow makes for a very pleasant evening. The installations, each put together by a different artist, blend well with the bustling setting of Georgetown at night. With displays being located around M Street NW, Wisconsin Avenue NW and K Street NW, each artist took a different angle when synthesizing their lighting with the mingling of car and pedestrian and endless storefronts that make up the urban scenery of Georgetown. From street corners, alleyways and the sides of buildings, Georgetown Glow puts an emphasis on immersing the art into the city and increasing accessibility and popularity that other lighting events of the same scale cannot achieve in a more conventional space.

Of the displays, the crowd favorite appeared to be “Social Sparkles”. Located in Francis Scott Key Park, “Social Sparkles” is an interactive art piece made up of suspended lights that turn on and wiggle in the air when motion is sensed underneath. Passersby found great enjoyment in causing the lights to illuminate as they jaunted and shivered about below. Interactive pieces like “Sparkles” seemed to draw the greatest appeal from visitors of Glow as they allowed viewers to not just stand back and observe, but to be apart of the art.

Other main draws at Georgetown Glow include “Prismatic,” which is located in Georgetown Waterfront Park near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and K Street. Made up of different structures of colored nylon rope tied in angled rows and lit up by black lighting, “Prismatic” creates a polychromatic and almost psychedelic color scheme that fits in beautifully with the Potomac River, Kennedy Center and skyline of Rosslyn sitting in the backdrop. The only drawback of this display would be that in order to move between the various roped arrangements, one must typically wait for the visitor in front of him or herself to finish taking Instagram-worthy pictures that clog up the narrow lanes of travel.

One of the more profound exhibits at Georgetown Glow is “Today I Love You,” which consists of lighted letters that spell out the title of the piece. Positioned at Washington Harbour at 3000 K Street amongst trees and a patch of grass, viewers are given a moment to contemplate the importance of living in the moment as well as the fickleness love. The simplicity of this display cuts out exterior distractions and allows for reflection from the audience while instilling poignant feelings of changing hearts and passing time.

As a whole, Georgetown Glow proved to be an excellent exhibit of art and the nightlife of Georgetown. While the inherent frenzy of Georgetown may curb some of the raw experience of art, the urban setting of Glow provides a new way for viewing art in which it is incorporated into existing infrastructure. This method has widened the range of Georgetown Glow viewers while also providing escapism from the typical atmosphere of restless heads and bodies riding about on Bird Scooters. In turning Georgetown into an enlivened art gallery, Georgetown Glow truly has lit up the holiday season.