ABOUT THE PORTLAND WINTER LIGHT FESTIVAL
6th Annual Portland Winter Light (non)Festival:
FEBRUARY 5-6 & 12-13, 2021
FREE TO ATTEND
Our mission is to build community by bringing cutting-edge art and technology to diverse audiences while invigorating the city of Portland in winter.
In order to safely reflect our current pandemic reality, the 6th edition of this tradition is being held as a series of outdoor art exhibitions throughout Portland.
The Portland Winter Light Festival (PDXWLF) is a city-wide, vibrant outdoor arts festival held at the height of winter, when there are few free cultural events taking place in the city, and builds community through collaboration between organizations, businesses, artists, and guests.
The 2020 festival hosted over 210,000 visitors and presented nearly 200 public art installations, performances, and workshops, all free of charge.
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 spearheaded by Portland State University Professor of Architecture Jeff Schnabel, Lighting Designer and Artistic Director Chris Herring, and former Technical Director Jean Margaret Thomas. The three were separately inspired by dynamic winter light festivals around the world such as France’s Fête des Lumières and Sydney’s Vivid. The organiziation is currently led by Executive Director Alisha Sullivan.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR CHRIS HERRING
The inaugural version of the festival took place along the Willamette River, Eastbank Esplanade, and OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). In its fourth year, the festival's footprint expanded to areas in all corners of the city, including a major presence at Portland State University. In 2020, the festival was once again centered along the banks of the Willamette River.
The 2021 edition of PDXWLF was advertised as the "Portland Winter Light (non)Festival", reflecting the decentralized nature of the activities as necessary during COVID times. During an unprecedented time and through extraordinary weather, thousands of people came out to celebrate light, art, and community.