Ann Arbor's FoolMoon event returns as multi-day festival of illuminated public art

After being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, downtown Ann Arbor's annual FoolMoon event will return in early April with safety precautions.


Instead of the usual one-night procession of illuminated costumes and luminaries, this year's FoolMoon will instead feature light-filled, community-created art and window displays in Kerrytown and on Main and State streets in downtown Ann Arbor. Art installations will begin to appear around April 1 and will remain on display through April 9. Participants are invited to put on lights, masks, make-up, and festive costumes to take in the art at their own pace. This year's event is designed with social distancing in mind, including extended timeframes, virtual activities, and signage that reminds participants to keep safe by keeping masks on.


This year’s theme, "Shine Your Light A2," is designed as an affirmation for the community during a time of unprecedented challenge.


“We are isolated and feeling disconnected by a pandemic, racial injustice, and need hope in this time,” says Jennifer Goulet, executive director of WonderFool Productions, which produces FoolMoon.


With help from community partners, kids of all ages can make art for the event with an array of online projects and how-to videos. Starting April 1, the Ann Arbor District Library will host "9 Days of Glow," offering video craft projects, inspiration, and a contest. WonderFool Productions is also engaging TreeTown Murals teaching artists to lead Ann Arbor Public Schools students in creating art that will inspire street murals for FoolMoon. Local businesses are also joining the fun by hosting window paintings done by Brush Monkeys artists or creating their own glowing storefront displays.


“When the news came out about COVID, we could have made an easy decision to stop and wait until it was over, but we are firm believers in the arts as a catalyst of bringing people together,” Goulet says. “We felt that the community needed this experience more than ever.”


More details are available here.


For more Concentrate coverage of our community's response to the COVID-19 crisis, click here.


Monica Hickson is a freelance writer currently based in Ypsilanti.

Photo courtesy of Myra Klarman.
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