When is Dlectricity 2017? Guide to Detroit's light art event

Dlectricity is Friday, Saturday nights

DLECTRICIRTY 2014 Photographed by Dave Lewinski
DLECTRICIRTY 2014 Photographed by Dave Lewinski

DETROITDlectricity, the light-based art and technology festival, returns to Detroit's Midtown on Friday and Saturday. Here's everything you need to know to attend: 

When: Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. to midnight 

Where: Midtown Detroit (MAP

What: Dlectricity is an outdoor art festival featuring light-based projects created by artists from around the world. This year's festival features at least 36 different projects spread throughout Detroit's Midtown area. You can get a preview of the projects here.

How to get there: Plan to drive to Midtown, park your car and walk the area roughly between the Detroit Institute of Arts and MOCAD along Woodward Avenue. The Michigan Science Center, the Wright museum and CCS also have exhibits.  

There will be large crowds on the streets and in many of the bar, restaurants and shops in the area. Here's a page with directions to Midtown, where to park and some tips for anyone bringing kids. 

Along with the outdoor light sculptures, the DIA, MOCAD the Detroit Historical Museum and many more venues will be open late on Friday and Saturday. 

Background Info

Dlectricity 2017 was chaired by Marc Schwartz, founder, of Art Detroit NowThe festival's curatorial committee included:

The Curatorial Committee is charged with responsibility of selecting artists and projects to be placed on the facades, grounds, and surrounding buildings of the hub institutions in Midtown including:

  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Wayne State University
  • College for Creative Studies
  • C.H. Wright Museum of African American History
  • Michigan Science Center
  • Detroit Historical Museum
  • Detroit Public Library
  • Cathedral Church of St. Paul
  • The Hannan House
  • First Congregational Church of Detroit
  • Detroit Artists Market
  • Garfield Lofts
  • N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

“In its third edition, Dlectricity will feature a variety of high-caliber works of art, showcasing
Midtown Detroit as an international arts destination,” said Sue Mosey, Executive Director,
Midtown Detroit, Inc. “We are appreciative of the generous support from foundations, cultural
institutions and our partners to help make Dlectricity a world-class event and invite everyone
to come experience it.”

The event features artists from Australia, the UK, Japan and Germany, as well as New York, Los
Angeles, Chicago, Portland, Baltimore and Cleveland. Detroit's own art community is also well
represented. The event is inspired by other international festivals known for bringing the best of
contemporary light and technology-based arts to the streets of major cities like Paris, Sydney,
Toronto, Minneapolis and New York.

“The Dlectricity artists this year are extraordinary and we are excited to bring this incredible
event back to Midtown. In many ways, the eyes of the contemporary art world are on Detroit at
this moment,” Schwartz said.


Photo credit: Dave Lewinski

More Highlights

Here's a description of events planned for Friday and Saturday from Dlectricity organizers: 

World-Renowned International and Local Artists

The collection of acclaimed international and local artists will illuminate the city with 36 art and light installations: Rashaad Newsome | Shade Composition Performance, King of Arms Procession, and a newly commissioned video entitled Phantasm; Pope.L | Reenactor; Klip Collective | The Librarian; Dawn of Man | Graffiti Grandma; Apetechnology | The Shadows of Slendrotron (The Monkey God’s Great Leap; D MET DESIGN | {The Amazing!} House of Fog: il Cinema Nebbioso; and more.

Sparking Imaginations of All Ages

The DLECTRICITY Family Zone, “Electric Park,” presented by The Kresge Foundation is located at the DIA and will spark the imagination with interactive art installations the entire family will enjoy. D MET, the award-winning architectural practice located in Midtown Detroit, will be showing their ambitious design {The Amazing!} House of Fog: il Cinema Nebbioso. Inspired by the simple attractions found at urban amusement parks popular at the dawn of the electric age, {The Amazing!} House of Fog invites children, and kids-at-heart, to “step-right-up” and float through a dream-scape from a simpler time (or simpler age).

Carrie Morris’ The Shadow Puppet Circus Sideshow uses light and analog overhead projectors to create a series of interactive display booths that pair the visual iconography of old-style amusement parks with Detroit-centric content. Each display encourages to choose the character they wish to pose as and Polaroid photos will be taken to keep as a souvenir.

Arts & Scraps’ Light as a Shadow is an interactive light exhibit and workshop that allows visitors to explore how white light is composed of three primary colors through play, experimentation and making. Visitors can create a character, creature or whatever creative expression they would like. Visitors then use their creation or their hands/bodies to create shadows on the projection wall.

Special Events and Performances throughout the Weekend

There are many special events happening before and during DLECTRICITY, including:

  • Rashaad Newsome is collaborating with the Cass Tech High School Marching Band and the Gabriel Brass Band in a New-Orleans-style procession, “King of Arms” on Friday, September 22, at 7:00 p.m., circling the Detroit Institute of Arts to kick off DLECTRICITY. Newsome will also direct one of his critically-acclaimed “Shade Composition” performances including an ensemble of locally cast performers at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, September 23 at the Detroit Film Theater inside the DIA. His third piece will be a new original video work, Phantasm, to be shown in the Great Hall at the DIA throughout the festival.
  • Pope.L’s Reenactor is an ongoing video projection that will run continuously in both daylight and nighttime with live performances from musicians Marcus Elliot and Ben Willis from 7 PM September 22 until midnight on September 23 at the Detroit Historical Museum.
  • Klip Collective’s “The Librarian,” will combine live action narrative with visual effects. Inside the Detroit Public Library, an otherwise quiet shift for the librarian turns chaotic as a power glitch sends the Internet into hyper drive infiltrating bookshelves with misinformation. With x-ray viewers, observers will be encouraged to explore and discover mini-narratives hidden inside the library where a giant hamster and mysterious figures lurk.
  • FaShon Vega has partnered with THREE13 ACTION DESIGN™ to produce STAR TOURS, a strolling live action fantasy performance by world class stunt performers. Guests will witness action actors from both sides of force battle it out right in front of them, decked out in some of their favorite cosplay and wielding illuminated “Stunt Sabors.” These cosplay warriors, when not performing, will be available to answer questions & take photos.
  • Dawn of Man will present Graffiti Grandma, a mobile projection throughout Midtown Detroit. Dawn Of Man is a New York City based digital arts collective, directing and producing works of new media, 3D projection mapping, cinema, video art, and audio.

Venues hosting installations include: Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit Public Library, The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Michigan Science Center, Detroit Historical Museum, C.H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Public Library, First Congregational Church, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Wayne State University and more.


DLECTRICITY Light Bike Parade

Light up your wheels. The DLECTRICITY Light Bike Parade, the official “Rolling Art Display” of DLECTRICITY is on Saturday, September 23. The parade is a 4-mile ride starting at dark on the campus of Wayne States University and will wind throughout the Midtown area where the public will line the streets to enjoy the show. Registration is free. Prizes will be given for the best decoration in several categories. The DLECTRICITY Light Bike Parade is sponsored by Shinola and Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop. Register for the Light Bike Parade here: https://goo.gl/RCKaz3.