New WAVE festival illuminates Breckenridge
Downtown Breckenridge will be glowing this week with a new exhibition that will transform the river, bridge and waterfront areas into a stage for modern art. A brand-new event hosted by Breckenridge Creative Arts, WAVE: Light + Water + Sound will feature interactive exhibits, music and visual art based on the themes of the festival’s title.
“For four days, we will light up that whole Blue River Plaza, and, on Monday morning, it will dark again,” said Robb Woulfe, president and CEO of Breck Create. “I love the idea of reinventing some of these public spaces.”
Installations have already begun around Breckenridge for WAVE, and the festival will commence Thursday, June 2 and continue each evening to Sunday, June 5, with events from 5–11 p.m.
A NEW EVENT
Light festivals have become popular around the world and have recently begun picking up more traction in the U.S. with a number of different markets picking them up. Organizers with Breck Create began tossing around the idea of how one could fit into Breckenridge, inspired by a free event in Scotsdale, Arizona called Canal Convergence. The idea behind this annual festival was to feature contemporary, digital public art along the canal. Woulfe said he appreciated the festival for the fact that it was a spectacle of light, sculpture and digital projections, but also that it appealed to a large demographic of people.
“We wanted it to be relevant to our mountain community, so we looked at that model and said ‘How can we make it unique to Breckenridge,’” he said.
Light festivals include everything from large, physical sculptures that are illuminated to exhibiting new digital mediums in the art world. For Breckenridge, Breck Create is building on concepts of taking the Riverwalk Center and using the venue in a different way with projections, incorporating the river into the festival and adding visual, dance and musical components.
“It becomes less about a sculpture and more about technology and projection becoming the art,” Woulfe said. “I love that contrast, too, in a historic town like Breckenridge, that this old Victorian town is very much contrasted with some of this really cutting-edge, interesting contemporary mediums.”
Regional, national and even international artists will be showcasing their artwork during the festival. The Pool, by Jen Lewin out of Boulder, Colorado, will be a playground of platforms that respond to human interaction, creating giant pools of light as people touch, walk and jump on them. Light Origami, by KAZ Shirane from Tokyo, Japan, is an exhibit that debuted at the Scotsdale festival. His work is a dome-shaped structure made up of geometric panels where spectrums of light are projected, creating a kaleidoscopic effect.
Projected Visions at the Blue River, by Ryan Patrick Griffin from Los Angeles, California, will be visual artwork projected on the building’s façade using projection mapping and a graphic pen tablet to paint thematic imagery.
Erin V. Sotak, who was invited to be an artist-in-residence through Breck Create for the last couple weeks, will continue showcasing her project, My Your Our Water. Her social engagement piece includes riding around town on a tricycle, talking to the community about water issues. Her project also includes a light-up sign in the Dredge Pond.
“I love the depth of that particular piece, and I think it becomes a very thoughtful piece, contrasted with some of the spectacle of the other pieces,” Woulfe said. “Those are some of the best festival experiences. The audience can go as deep as they want to go. … It offers a variety of ways to look at these issues, and it can be the fun, spectacle part of it, or you can actually get into it a little bit and be looking at water issues and water in Summit County and how we are dealing with it. That’s the best public art, when it becomes conversation.”
Out of Denver, Collin Parson will bring LightScapes, an installation of illuminated boxes that captures the principles of geometrics, light, space, color and dimension using fluorescent and light emitting diodes. Vera Amaya from Los Angeles will present Temporal Currents, an interactive audio and visual installation exploring the array of submerged soundscapes from movements and narratives through water.
Frequent Flyers Productions, Inc. out of Boulder, will be “activating the space” with stilt and acrobat dancing and ground-based movement pieces on the bridge and around the lawn area of the Riverwalk Center. Then there will be three performances at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. directly in front of the Riverwalk Center. The late performance each evening will be in conjunction with a video projection.
“We are a modern dance company that blends modern dance with aerial work,” said Nancy Smith, founder and artistic director with Frequent Flyers. “Our esthetic is very fluid, and the seamlessness, the effortlessness, the flow of the movement is very much in keeping with their theme. We titled what we are doing Luminous Movement, with the idea that it’s got this luminous, not as in light, but as in light waves and particles.”
Although Frequent Flyers have performed around Colorado and at Cirque du Soleil in Montreal, this will be their first Summit County performance.
“Performing in the Breckenridge community as part of Breck Create — I think they are doing a lot of super interesting programming up there,” Smith said. “We are very glad to be a part of this particular event. It’s a treat for us to be able to come to Breckenridge, and we love for other people to see our work. … It’s always nice to be in our own backyard.”
Breck Create also partnered with the National Repertory Orchestra, which will be performing a series of new classical works against a backdrop of live digital painting, and Breckenridge Film Festival (BFF), which will be showcasing a variety of films.
“We really wanted to jive with what Breck Create was aiming to do, which is to showcase light, water and sound waves,” said Janice Kurbjun, executive director of BFF. “They have pretty much all of the installations … focused around those things, so we wanted to go with the visual representation of that aspect.”
On Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, BFF will present a series of whimsical shorts representing light, water and sound at Old Masonic Hall. The films showcase the effect of cymatic frequencies on matter — the idea of making sound and vibration visible.
On Friday, BFF will present thought-provoking programming focusing on water issues on an inflatable screen on the deck of Old Masonic Hall. The short films will take a look at what’s happening locally, regionally and globally, and its impact on the physical and social world, Kurbjun said.
The WAVE festival is also a partnership with the town and Breckenridge Tourism Office, in its effort to bring quality art programming to Summit County.
“I love all the projects for different reasons,” Woulfe said about the festival. “Some of them are straight spectacle, and some of them have deeper themes to them. I’m really excited to see how the community responds, and, hopefully, they have a great time with it.”
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