The eighth edition of Georgetown GLOW has come to the historic neighborhood with a host of international artists, bringing light and holiday cheer.
Through Jan. 22, Georgetown is hosting to five different luminous art installations, scattered across the heart of the neighborhood, M Street and down to Georgetown Waterfront Park.
To enhance visitors’ experience, members of the Georgetown Business Improvement District wanted to cluster the installations geographically between M Street and the waterfront, so that people could see the compelling artwork and also have time to dine and shop.
Georgetown GLOW has been a staple of the neighborhood since 2014. According to Nancy Miyahira, vice president and marketing director of the business improvement district, the idea came by chance as business district members were inspired by a group of international light artists who visited Washington in 2013, asking for a place to showcase their art.
The group had the backing of the Alliance de Francaise, a French arts and culture nonprofit based in the District, to bring D.C. its own light festival for the season.
Miyahira said she thought it was a unique idea, and that GLOW was born the following year.
This year, the event features five bright art installations by several artists from across the world.
One of the installations, “All the Light You See,” by Alicia Eggert, is hosted in Georgetown Waterfront Park, showcasing a large flashing sign with the big, bolded phrase: “All the light you see is from the past.”
Eggert told to TheWash that her installation represents how “our human lives are very linear and finite, but we exist within a universe that seems infinite and cool in nature.”
Eggert said she is often inspired by “how we perceive light and the way that light travels across space and time [and] everything we’re seeing is an image of the past even, when we look across the room, we’re seeing an image that is a millisecond in the past.”
When asked about the installation, Miyahira said: “Just the idea of Alicia Eggert’s work, the way it felt against the Potomac River, Roosevelt Island with the Kennedy Center, the Key Bridge in Rosslyn, it just kind of was framed by basically that whole area,” Miyahira added.
When looking for new installations each year, Miyahira said the business improvement district looks for installations that have a mix of whimsical and family-friendly fun, but also want to “give people pause to think about a statement that the artist is trying to make about the world.”
Miyahira said a number of things are considered when selecting installations to feature in the yearly light festival, such as the sites that are available that have space, a level surface and access to electricity. However, enjoyment and accessibility are always at the forefront of their consideration, she added.
Karen Wu and Michelle Duong, two friends that TheWash caught enjoying the “Cloud Swings” installation on East Market Lane, said that they walking back from another Christmas event in Rosslyn, and the installation had caught their eye.
“We had to double back for it,” Wu said. “We were looking for something to do on a Thursday night … So we just wanted to pop over, check it out and head down to the waterfront, … And we got some cookies!”
Another visitor to GLOW, Makeda Ingram, who was admiring the installation entitled “Butterfly Effect,” told TheWash that she was looking for free things to do with her two boys, ages nine and 12, and she stumbled upon GLOW in her search.
“I ended up following the map, this is the third stop on the map, and this is really the nicest one. I like the butterflies; it’s really nice,” Ingram said. “I liked the first one, it had the thing hanging down from the building and it made sound bath noises. I liked that — it was very calming.”
Michelle Bauer, who was taking pictures in front of the “Picto Sender Machine” at Washington Harbour, told TheWash that Georgetown GLOW was the perfect event for a girls’ night out.
“I saw the Instagram post from the Georgetown Main Street page, and it was just a good excuse to do a girls’ night,” Bauer said. “I think the map is really helpful because we can follow that around. It’s fun to get out and have an excuse to go to dinner and drink hot chocolate and have a fun time.”
GLOW typically brings more than 100,000 people to the neighborhood during the event’s residence period and has achieved a “positive economic impact” for its businesses yearly since its first showing, Miyahira said.
“GLOW has really been a team effort over the years,” as the Georgetown business improvement district’s goal has been with the inception of this event “to bring an enticing experience during the holiday season,” Miyahira said.