Let There Be Light!

Luna by MK Illumination during the 2022 Portland Winter LIght Festival. Photo © 2022 Brett Nemecek

FEBRUARY 3 – 12, 2023

2023 Theme: The Light of STARS

The numbers say we are not alone in the universe
They also say we are alone, here, now in our tiny corner of space.
What we know of time tells us galaxies and civilizations have been born, grown up and turned to dust, Then once again had the pieces swept up, and used as the building blocks for tomorrow.
In July 2022 the world looked to the stars and opened a new human chapter.
We found we can see further back into time than ever before. And what do we see?
Beautiful, beautiful chaos.
Finding out the order our minds try to impose on the universe is not real can be disconcerting for some, but to me, it’s music.
Stars ripping through nebulas like baseballs through cotton candy. Galaxies squeezing past black holes only to have billions of stars scattered into the darkness like multicolored Christmas lights.
The colors in space are unimaginable and unending. What we can see, and what we will never know. Every color, every wavelength.
I see that this vastness and chaos can also create a symmetry. Like here, on our little watery rock floating through space. A place where we can dream, and build and reach for the stars and find the future.
This year. I ask you to look at the universe and show us your future.
I know it’s a lot to ask, but I believe in you.
Because the numbers say we are all lucky to be here.
And anyone that lucky can do anything.

​~ Chris Herring, Creative Director PDXWLF

The Portland Winter Light Festival (PDXWLF) is an annual event of the Willamette Light Brigade, a non-profit arts organization. PDXWLF is presented to guests for free, and builds community by bringing art and technology to inclusive audiences while invigorating Portland in the winter.

On February 4-12 2022, the festival returned for a seventh year as a decentralized citywide event with pop-up art in windows, businesses, and unusual spaces, encouraging guests to explore the city to view art while allowing for equitable access for more families and guests.

The Willamette Light Brigade (WLB) founded PDXWLF in an effort to propel forward its mission of connecting community and enriching the public realm through artful lighting. The festival began as a coalescence of ideas in 2016 and was propelled into existence by dedicated community members too numerous to mention.

We are committed to keeping the Portland Winter Light Festival family-friendly, free to attend, and open to everyone. So bundle up and celebrate the power of light and community with us!

DiscoBug by Tyler FuQua – Photo Austin Strickland

The 2023 Festival:

The Portland Winter Light Festival (PDXWLF) is Portland’s premier outdoor winter art activity that transforms, illuminates, and animates Portland’s nighttime urban landscape. The theme this year is “The Light of Stars.” For the eighth year running, PDXWLF will be presented by PGE. In an evolution from previous years, the 2023 event is scheduled to take place at dozens of locations throughout Portland, focusing on two weekends of interactivity and installations in the downtown core. As always, admission is free.

PDXWLF will present major anchor sites at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the World Trade Center, The Electric Blocks, and more. Interspersed will be a web of pop-up installations throughout the entire city, from the Lents neighborhood to Northwest and beyond, leading guests to get out and explore the city. Pop-ups will occur in retail windows, empty storefronts, front yards, and public spaces.

Weekend-based anchor sites will host large, dynamic light-art sculptures and performances.

Disco Lights by Ivan McLean during the 2022 Portland Winter LIght Festival. Photo © 2022 Brooke Hoyer

Highlights will include:
A 16-foot-tall robot, PDXWLF’s first formal artist commission, by local artist Tyler FuQua, a long-time creative contributor to PDXWLF
The return of fire-based sculpture and performances
Dozens of interactive digital art installations
Large-scale building projection mapping
Opportunities for community participation include volunteering, dressing up in lights, joining the Illuminated Bike Ride, and more!

Check out the Festival’s positive impact here.

To learn more, check out the website HERE
Or email HERE


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