New Tacoma Light Trail Spreads Hope and Unity in Night Sky

Local artists, businesses, art supporters, and downtown venues have collaborated to put together the first-ever Tacoma Light Trail, a brilliant display of both light and sound spreading hope and unity throughout the city.

From Dec. 30 through Jan. 24 between 5 to 9 p.m. daily, spectators are invited to see awe-inspiring light art creations via a walking or driving trail at over 30 downtown Tacoma locations.

The safe and socially-distanced light art installations create a perfect opportunity to get out and experience art in Tacoma.

The architect and organizer of the collaborative effort, Rosemary Ponnekanti, was inspired by the illuminated whale lanterns on display at Foss Waterway Seaport, creations of artist and scientist, Kristian Brevik, and the annual Vivid Sydney light art festival of her roots.

“I’ve been wanting to bring light art to Tacoma for years,” Ponnekanti, director of Tacoma Ocean Fest, said. “It’s so dark this time of year, especially this year. We really need something to brighten it up. In true Tacoma-style, it was easy to convince people. They really loved the idea, and wanted to help brighten their community.”

From projection to video, to light-filled sculptures and lanterns, combined with a Sound Trail that adds both melodic tunes and spoken word to each display, the inspirational luminosity brightens the night sky.

Using the Echoes mobile app to enjoy accompanying sounds as they pass by each light display, whether on foot, or by vehicle, visitors will hear anecdotes about former Mayor Harold Moss, words by local author Michael Haeflinger, and the sweet music of both Symphony Tacoma and Kareem Kandi and the Tacoma Refugee Choir.

According to Ponnekanti, many people donated their time and their talent to make the venture a reality.

“Tacoma has really stepped up to the plate, being so generous with this. It’s a great and safe way to get out, support downtown arts groups and businesses, and get inspired by art,” Ponnekanti said.

You can find a map of light art locations here, as well as information about the corresponding Sound Trail.

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