Brave Berlin’s 2018 installation at Pyramid Hill. CONTRIBUTED

Pyramid Hill’s annual light display getting big reinvention in Hamilton

Pyramid Hill’s annual holiday light display is about to undergo a big reinvention — thanks to a creative collaboration.

For the first time, Pyramid Hill has put out an open call for light and media artists to submit proposals to create artful works for this year’s show, titled “Borealis.” The popular display, previously known as Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill, will open to the public late in November.

In 2019, Brave Berlin, the creators of Lumenocity and BLINK, worked with Pyramid Hill to create a special display that was a part of Holiday Lights on the Hill. Their creation transformed the outdoor pavilion into a 13-projector, 180-degree, drive-by media experience. This year, Brave Berlin will reinvent a new display under the roof of the pavilion.

“This innovative partnership between Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Brave Berlin will provide an inspiring and magical holiday spectacle for kids of all ages. Also, we are thrilled that ‘Borealis’ at Pyramid Hill will engage local and regional artists, embrace the holiday spirit, and create a truly unique experience for visitors,” said Sean FitzGibbons, director at Pyramid Hill.

“Last year, Brave Berlin created the animation around the pavilion, and that was a fantastic first step. The idea was always to keep innovating and creating something bigger and better. Over the summer, meeting with Brave Berlin and brainstorming, we came up with idea for ‘Borealis.’”

The main elements? Something the park has plenty of, he said: art and space.

“To better leverage and consolidate this with our mission statement, we wanted to create an actual art exhibit, so that’s how we came up with inviting and putting the call out for artists to submit their proposals, and to feature this, similar to what they were doing at BLINK,” FitzGibbons said.

“As we were thinking about how visitors would experience this, and do the 2.5-mile drive-through the park with the lights, we kept thinking of it as a journey, and how do we translate that idea to the guests. Instead of just going through and seeing all of the lights, how could we create some sort of journey experience?” he explained.

“If we took that, and applied it to the park, what if people when they get to the front gate, they leave Ohio and by the time they get to the end of it, they are at the North Pole, visiting Santa’s workshop. So, with that kind of an idea of a magical journey through Pyramid Hill and ending up at the North Pole, we came up with the name, ‘Borealis.’ Aurora Borealis is another name for the northern lights,” FitzGibbons said.

Artists or groups who wish to submit ideas must demonstrate a viable plan to conceive, fabricate, install and maintain their outside artwork for a period of six weeks, during the winter months at Pyramid Hill. Artists and collaborators interested in submitting a proposal can find out how to apply at www.borealisatpyramidhill.com. The submission deadline is Friday, Sept. 13.

“This is going to be something that’s geared to families and kids of all ages. First, we want this to be a holiday light show. Secondly, it’s an outdoor drive-through art exhibit,” FitzGibbons said.

There will be about eight different zones with up to 50 artists creating the works between the different zones. There will be traditional Christmas lights intermingled in, similar to what’s been on display in the past, but there will be more of a curated focus that ties in all of the zones and transition areas together. Artist interpretations might include lanterns, blinking lights, and light-up sculptures. In 2019, more than 20,000 guests visited the park for the holiday light show.

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