Snowmass Light Festival to bring immersive, interactive art to town
Snowmass Village is going to be lit Friday and Saturday.
That’s not just a colloquial characterization; over the Passapalooza and Snowmassive Celebration weekend, part of Fanny Hill, the Village Mall and Base Village will have a multitude of light art on display for people to interact with.
Organized by Aspen Skiing Co., over 20 Snowmass Light Festival pieces are set to include on-snow projections, lit-up inflatable pieces and ice sculptures, a magic kaleidoscope carpet ride, a forest of multi-colored trees and light up games of Jenga and bocce ball.
“This is something we hope will add an element to the nighttime activities we’ve never done before,” said Jeff Hanle, Skico’s vice president of communications, of the light festival. “It’s perfect for almost any age and will give people the opportunity to not just look and admire but to participate, too.”
Hanle said Skico events staff has brainstormed ways to enhance Aspen-Snowmass nighttime activities over the years, felt bringing a festival of light art and interactive displays to the ski areas was good idea, and developed the right connections and partnerships this year to make it happen at Snowmass.
One of those partnerships is with longtime resident and well-known sculptor Thomas Barlow of Carbondale.
From sculpting veggies and crafting elaborate cakes, to creating intricate wood and ice sculptures, Barlow said he’s channeled his artistic abilities through a multitude of mediums.
Last year, he was invited to create ice sculptures for the Base Village grand opening celebration, and was excited to be invited to Snowmass for this weekend’s long list of festivities, too.
“There’s an emphasis on lighting this year, so my sculptures will have more lighting effects,” Barlow said. “I think it’s cool for guests to see the sculptures transpire in a matter of hours.”
Barlow also plans to do a live ice sculpting demonstration, and will both sculpt images and carve around ones lasered into the ice to create 3D designs.
Another artist set to bring his work to the Snowmass Light Festival is George Berlin, a self-titled creative genius and artist specializing in projection mapping and immersive audience experiences.
Berlin has competed in light festivals around the world, including Seattle’s Borealis Festival of Light and Bucharest’s International VideoMapping Competition, and has won multiple awards for his projection mapping work.
He said he plans to bring a host of interactive displays — which often look like images, designs or video clips moving across an otherwise ordinary surface — to the snow, sculptures and other areas of Snowmass for the festival.
“What we create is designed to be adapted to any space,” Berlin said of his immersive art. “It’s mind-blowing how it actually works, how it can light up buildings and make them seem so alive. That’s why I like it.”
The Snowmass Light Festival will debut Friday and Saturday after sunset in Base Village, on Fanny Hill and the Village Mall. When asked if it was in the works to be an annual Skico event, Hanle said it hadn’t been discussed but could be a possibility.
“We’ll see what people think and if it’s something we will continue to explore moving forward,” Hanle said.
Snowmass Village retailers combined to generate $2.2 million in revenue in July, which translated to $247,891 in sales tax collections for the town’s general fund, according to the latest tax report available.
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