On Friday night, the streets of Downtown Binghamton became a beautiful canvas of light and sound during the much-anticipated LUMA festival. Closed off areas along State Street filled up with locals and tourists alike as the sun went down.
The festival featured collaborative digital works of art created by the Binghamton University cinema department and local artists as well as art firms located around the world. The colorful, creative projections were showcased across several of Binghamton’s historic buildings.
LUMA was a part of Binghamton’s First Friday series, a movement which has celebrated local artists on the first Friday of every month since 2004. The event drew an unprecedented amount of visitors, packing over two blocks with families, performers, professors, students and more.
“I haven’t seen this amount of people at any event in Binghamton,” said Kim Stone, a resident of Broome County. “Everybody was getting along and just having a good time watching the show.”
The festival raised over $15,000 in funding through a Kickstarter campaign; the 200-plus donations made the event possible. A video for the campaign gave possible supporters a digital preview of what Binghamton would look like when turned into a canvas for animated art.
The festival began with a block party featuring live music from local acts and art gallery showings. Local businesses set up tents along upper State Street, selling food, crafts and Binghamton-inspired clothing; even the Belmar food truck made an appearance.
“It was a really different kind of show, unlike anything I’ve seen,” said Aruna Somwaru, a senior majoring in environmental studies. “It really brought the community together.”
Once the sun set, the projectors came to life, illuminating Atomic Tom’s, Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts, The Forum, the Christ Church Tower and the Townsquare Media building.
The Binghamton University cinema department created an interactive project, where children could draw images on an iPad with the app Tagtool, and see them projected onto The Forum building.
Other projects included a virtual lizard crawling across the facade of Atomic Tom’s, and a sea of jellyfish swimming across the historic Christ Church Tower. Binghamton University fine arts professor Blazo Kovacevic also collaborated on one of the projections.
Restaurants along the projection route, such as Social on State, had crowds spilling out onto the street. Taking breaks from meals or drinks with friends, they left to catch an extra glimpse of the projections.
The co-founders of LUMA, local photographer Tice Lerner and BingPop founder Joshua Ludzki, were hoping to bring something new and exciting to Binghamton and bring the community together in the process. Given the turnout, they certainly succeeded.
“Binghamton is very much capable of bringing big things to this small city,” said local artist Mayumi Park. “The art at LUMA was mind-blowing and it’s just going to keep getting better.”