Best Of 2020

Best Festival Glow-Up: BLINK

BLINK 2019
click to enlarge BLINK 2019 - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
BLINK 2019

After more than a million people attended the BLINK light and art festival during its inaugural run in 2017, the free event returned by popular demand last year. The fest did a glow-up in 2019, spanning 30 city blocks — 10 more than in 2017 — through Over-the-Rhine, downtown and into Covington. Things kicked off with a massive participant-led, illuminated parade down Vine Street and the cityscape was transformed by way of large-scale murals, light installations, interactive sculptures, performance art, live entertainment and projection mapping. Produced by local creative agencies Brave Berlin, AGAR and ArtWorks, with support from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation and a number of other sponsors, BLINK was originally conceived as a way to see Cincinnati as a “future city.” And for 2019’s event, BLINK organizers recruited local, national and international artists to create 16 new murals and 39 projection mappings. (In 2017, BLINK brought nine permanent murals and 22 projection mappings to the city.) And while some attendees complained about technical glitches or how spread out the fest was — or how the first night of the Roebling Bridge’s activation led to some concerns because of crowds — there’s no denying the fest filled the city with some pretty cool immersive experiences, especially Saya Woolfalk’s psychedelic projection-mapped “Visionary Reality Threshold” and the world premiere of Architects of Air’s (ticketed) inflatable “Dodecalis.” BLINK, blink2019.com.