Every fall, the LUMA Projection Arts Festival lights up the streets of Downtown Binghamton. This year, organizers are appealing to the community to prevent a funding shortfall.
A free visual art festival founded in 2015, LUMA typically attracts a crowd of “nearly 40,000 festival-goers” thanks to “unprecedented community support,” according to a press release. Celebrating the intersection of art and technology, LUMA lights up historic buildings Downtown with animated shorts produced by “world-class” artists worldwide. This year, the organization’s $40,000 Kickstarter goal is slightly more than halfway met, prompting its leaders to launch the “Keep LUMA Free” campaign.
According to Joshua Bernard, the co-founder and operations director of LUMA, the Kickstarter campaign indicates community support to sponsors and government officials. The campaign is “all-or-nothing,” so organizers won’t receive any funding if the goal is not met.
Despite the potential funding shortfall, Bernard expressed his enthusiasm for the event in a press release.
“This is year nine of LUMA,” Bernard wrote. “I don’t know that I can say for certain that I knew that we would make it this far, so it’s a thrilling accomplishment.”
The upcoming festival will introduce seven innovations. Among these new features is the introduction of “live synchronized vocals” during every performance from indigenous Siberian songwriter and LUMA debut artist Snow Raven and a combination of next-generation laser shows with “an original multimedia laser/projection mapping experience.”
In a press release, Jared Kraham, the mayor of Binghamton, shared his thoughts on LUMA’s evolution over the years and its impact on the community.
“The City of Binghamton is really proud to call LUMA one of our flagship events,” Kraham said in a press release. “I remember many years ago when there was one projector and one building on State Street, and folks, even before it was called LUMA, were testing out the technology and seeing what could be done. From those first lights and lumens from that projector to what we have now, which is an international showcase of projection arts technology and really the largest event that Downtown Binghamton has every year, has put Binghamton on the map.”
One way LUMA sought to engage local artists was through the Peg Johnston Living Lights Project, named for a late community activist. A “more traditional spin” on mapping, the Living Lights Project doesn’t require 3D animation expertise and will give artists the chance to see their work projected onto a building at LUMA.
Bernard explained the project and emphasized the significance of the project’s new name.
“We invite members of the community to get involved with projection mapping for the first time,” Bernard said. “We give them canvases and paper outlines and they get to work in whatever form they feel most comfortable with. Then we scan those works of art and project them on a building. We are actually renaming the project in support of Johnston who helped found [the project] with us. Johnston was an amazing activist, artist and organizer. We are incredibly proud to rename the project in honor of [her].”
Nava Sherman, a sophomore majoring in industrial and systems engineering, shared her thoughts on the upcoming festival and the importance of supporting local artists.
“It is a very exciting chance to see artists create art with unique methods like projection mapping,” Sherman said. “It is always nice to be able to support local artists and have fun at festivals like LUMA.”