ypsiGLOW community art celebration returns Oct. 29 with new location and collaborations

New collaborations with community groups and an expansion into Ypsilanti's Riverside Park are just a few new elements of the ypsiGLOW celebration for 2021. The event will take place at a variety of locations all over Ypsilanti from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 29. Sponsored by WonderFool Productions, the community celebration of light and art is now in its sixth year.

Jennifer Goulet, executive director of WonderFool Productions, says last year's ypsiGLOW was "a wonderful mix of socially-distanced art experiences and at-home making with kits and online workshops." Additionally, event organizers offered virtual programming called GLOW TV through the event's Facebook page.

This year will also offer a mix of in-person and virtual programming.

"We're going to be activating storefront windows and public spaces across the downtown area, Depot Town, West Cross Street, and, this year, Riverside Park," Goulet says.

Goulet says WonderFool Productions has deepened its existing relationship with Eastern Michigan University (EMU) this year. Representatives from the EMU orchestra, theatre, and dance programs will create a video compilation that will be a way for orchestra members to share what they've learned in a year when they aren't able to put on their annual Halloween concert. 

The ypsiGLOW installations around town will also provide an opportunity for theatre tech students to work with professional lighting company TLS Productions.

"The theatre tech students will work with a team that does this kind of lighting for big events and concerts, and it's going to be a good, hands-on experience for those students," Goulet says.

Engage@EMU is also partnering with WonderFool Productions to create a "Glow Pass" program for ypsiGLOW.

EMU students are encouraged to dress up and visit designated businesses where they can get their Glow Passes stamped. Once the passes are complete, students will then be eligible for prize packages through a post-event drawing.

"It's about having the students get to know the community, fostering relationships between students and the local business community, and encouraging them to support local businesses as customers," Goulet says.

This is also the first year that ypsiGLOW has taken over Riverside Park. Events there will include glowing art installations, plus performances by the Ypsilanti High School Choir, John E. Lawrence, and local musical group Breathe Easy.

"We saw how successful [Lawrence's] summer jazz concerts were on Friday nights, and he was super excited to jump into GLOW with us," Goulet says. 

A number of take-home kits, virtual workshops, and other events that teach community members how to make luminaries, shadow puppets, and other craft items will be held leading up to the event on the 29th. For more information about workshops or instructions on how to create masks and other glowing props with household items, visit ypsiGLOW's "Glowmaking" web page.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo by Leisa Thompson Photography.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.