The Dallas Arts District is known for bright lights, but on October 28 it will be lit in a brand new way. AURORA 2011, a free event, is taking over the DAD, and starting at 7:30pm on Flora St. artists from all over the country are going to showcase light in ways you’ve never envisioned before.
Aurora 2011 organizer and artist Shane Pennington talked to CBSDFW.com about Aurora’s origins, how he started it in Dallas, and what he hopes the event will grow into.
On Aurora’s beginnings
The idea of AURORA originated and was concepted from an event that started in Paris in 2001called Nuit Blanche which means “White Night.” This is an all-night, annual event that typically has the city itself being turned into an art gallery, providing space for art installations, performances, and interactive works.
Over the past few years, I have discussed the possibility about creating such an event in Dallas with many people in our community, transforming a piece of the city into a brilliant nighttime contemporary arts festival. Last year I just decided to jump in and start the ball rolling. We had our first AURORA at the Dallas Heritage Village in November2010, and with my partner and co-founder Joshua King, we curated and held our first AURORA event! It was magical. So many talented artists were very excited to participate and be a part of the event, and a number of volunteers generously contributed their time to assist with a tremendously successful event. We received an overwhelming number of positive responses from all the guests who attended and experienced it. When people kept asking if we would have another one this year, we knew we had to do something bigger, better, and more awe-inspiring.
On Aurora’s growth as a premier art event in Dallas
For a couple of years now Veletta Forsythe Lill and I have been speaking about AURORA and with her help we have moved the event into the largest arts district in the nation, The Dallas Arts District. It is because of Veletta that this event has been able to grow and take a next step into the District. What is different about this year is we have most of the footprint of the 68-acre District to let the artists create and use all surfaces from the lawns to the sides of buildings to install their works and use the architecture as a piece of art within itself. Streets within the District will be closed off so many of the artists will be able to use the environment as their canvas and put their works in places unimaginable. What is really fun about moving the event to downtown Dallas, is that the guests get to explore the Arts District and see the area and art work in ways never seen before. You will find many of the artists will have installations, which you can walk through, touch, see, hear, interact with … all in a light, sound, or video-based mediums.
On what Aurora means for Dallas
Regarding what this means for Dallas: I have always known that this type of an event would fit perfectly for Dallas. We love the arts, we love lights, and the cool air of nighttime is a perfect way for us to get outside and enjoy an event with our community while viewing contemporary works of art. The event in Toronto called “Nuit Blanche” generates millions of dollars annually for their city and has become an annual tourism destination. Although this is only our 2nd year, and this event is still in its infancy, we are significantly increasing the scope and scale of AURORA 2011 in Dallas. Our hope is that it will not be long before the complete city embraces this event as a staple of our community. I can envision that in the future AURORA will be hosted simultaneously in several zones throughout the city, all night, for one night, with restaurants open until dawn, and the parks and buildings of Dallas shining bright with interesting and compelling contemporary works of public art.