As the sun dipped below the Roebling Bridge, Dan Reynolds of Brave Berlin spoke of BLINK's expansion into Northern Kentucky. In 2019, the popular light and art festival — which Brave Berlin produced and which saw a million visitors last year — will spread across the bridge into Covington.
The announcement came atop downtown Cincinnati's AC Hotel rooftop patio, backdropped against the city skyline. The message that the festival touted last year — envisioning Cincinnati as a "future city" — will continue on, just larger than before. Last year, light displays and art events stretched from The Banks to the edges of Over-the-Rhine; next year, they will stretch even further.
"After much consideration and planning, we're going to add a zone to BLINK. We're going to cross this beautiful bridge," Reynolds said, gesturing to the glowing Roebling. "And cross into Covington, Kentucky and truly become a regional event."
BLINK will be free again in 2019, even though the four-day event cost $3 million to stage. Reynolds said that the greatest part of the fest is that it's for everyone. "The very core of what BLINK is about is what the diversity is that makes BLINK so special," he said. "We designed it to be diverse. It is for young and old, gay and straight, it is for people who were born in this nation and for people who are visiting this nation and are making this nation their home. It is for everyone.
"My favorite memory of BLINK is that when you stand among the million people looking at art, for one minute every difference between you goes away and you are standing and having a shared moment of humanity."
The event happened nearly a year ago, from Oct. 12-15, 2017. (Next year, it's projected to take place Oct. 10-13.) The planning for 2019, Reynolds noted, started soon after the inaugural event closed. Sitting on top a different rooftop — 21c Museum Hotel — their team made a toast, took Monday off and got back to work on Tuesday. Though there's still much planning ahead of them, Reynolds said that the path BLINK will take across the river will likely snake through to the intersection of Seventh and Madison streets in Covington.
Alecia Kintner, the president and CEO of nonprofit ArtsWave, also announced that the organization will act as the "illuminating" sponsor of BLINK — saying the driving force behind BLINK aligns with ArtWave's own blueprint.
Karen Finan, the president and CEO of Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, said that the community "is not about geographic boundaries when it comes to celebration." She added that community members would be able to feel the vibrancy of the celebration of art, light and inclusion as they joined Cincinnati in experiencing the event.
"So get this: this bridge — which everyone likes to say is the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge — is going to kick the ass of the Brooklyn Bridge when it's lit from side to side," laughed Jill P. Meyer, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber head, eliciting applause.
For more information, visit blinkcincinnati.com.