BLINK issues call to artists for 2024 street festival

The nation’s largest light, art and projection mapping experience is looking for artists to make the Queen City shine bright next year.

BLINK, Illuminated by ArtsWave, returns to the streets of Greater Cincinnati region in October 2024 for four nights of incredible art, visual displays and other entertainment. The event is scheduled to run Thursday, Oct. 17 through Sunday, Oct. 20.

On Tuesday, organizers of BLINK issued a formal call to artists and creators who specialize in several specific media: light-based experiential installation, mural painting and projection mapping or digital art and animation.

Tentatively, the BLINK team wants to create 12-15 new permanent murals, 30-40 temporary lighted installations and illuminate 30-35 projection/digital animation installations.

“Katena” luminarium during BLINK 2017, by Architects of Air

The application is open to local creators but also creatives from across the United States and even the world.

Justin Brookhart, executive director of BLINK, called the festival an opportunity to attract world-class artists to Cincinnati to share their unique perspectives and diverse art forms to our historic buildings, streets and communities.

Justin Brookhart

“Creators from around the world are encouraged to share works of art that showcase, highlight and reveal unexpected stories of humanity that engage, inspire and excite audiences all the while drawing inspiration from Cincinnati’s iconic architecture, urban landscape and hidden spaces,” he added.

The application window is open until Friday, Dec. 15. Between now and then, the BLINK project team plans to host several meet-and-greets of sorts to go over the application process with prospective artists. But they also released some advice to prospective applications.

One of the biggest things they want to see is originality. Brookhart and his team are looking for fresh ideas and concepts that don’t resemble something the tens of thousands of expected visitors will have seen at any of the three previous iterations of BLINK. They’re also asking for designs that are inclusive, nonpolitical and rooted in celebration.

Artists will receive assigned locations.

Other factors judges will consider include the durability of the project and its appropriateness for the audience and event footprint; the quality of the work; the budget responsibility of the artists and general “achievability.” Bookhart stressed a desire for larger-than-life ideas, but they have to be realistic. BLINK is set to open in a little over a year.

Brookhart and company created what they call a festival “manifesto” which outlines the desired goals and themes of the upcoming festival. It’s rooted in the BLINK concept of “The Future City.” The manifesto is available on the BLINK website. It also has more details about the application process, honorariums and artist deliverables.

Artist interviews will take place in the first part of 2024. Selected artists will receive notification sometimes in March 2024. 

BLINK: Call to Artists

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