Xavier’s SAI marches in BLINK Cincinnati parade

Photo courtesy of Gabby Sapata | Xavier’s School of Arts and Innovation (SAI) marched in the BLINK parade over the weekend. Students danced through the streets holding illuminated umbrellas and glowing paper clouds.

The sky was dark, but the city of Cincinnati was alive with light this weekend as BLINK kicked off with a downtown parade. At the tail end of the performance was Xavier’s School of Arts and Innovation (SAI) carrying illuminated umbrellas and glowing paper clouds. SAI students danced while they walked, their faces lit with the same glow as the lights around them.

In its first year, BLINK illuminated buildings all across the city through projection mapping on murals, the Architect’s Dome in Washington Park and interactive art installations. SAI ran a light painting booth on Main Street where people could pose for photos and have backgrounds painted or drawn with light using a long exposure on a camera.

BLINK was a free event for the public funded by local philanthropic organizations like the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr. Foundation. Set across 20 blocks downtown, BLINK offered light exhibits ranging from murals to neon fog. BLINK launched with a parade last Thursday and involved a variety of organizations, including Xavier’s SAI.
SAI was tasked with the role of representing Xavier at BLINK, and they chose to do so with a rainstorm theme. Participants in the front carried umbrellas displaying a slideshow of graphics advertising Xavier University and SAI. Behind them, other members carried umbrellas and clouds marched along and interacted with the crowd.
SAI’s props showcased the purpose of BLINK: to illuminate. The clouds were made by wrapping LED light wires around the frame of a paper lantern. Stuffed animal filling was hot-glued to the outside of the lantern, resulting in a cloud-like appearance.

The umbrellas were formed using standard umbrellas and LED lights. Handles were removed from wooden umbrella poles and a hole was drilled in the top of the pole. The umbrella posts were spray painted black to blend in with the nighttime setting. Umbrella tops were placed inside the holes and lights were installed using electrical tape.
Though their obvious role was to represent Xavier, first-year Andie Parady felt SAI had a larger purpose in being in the parade. Xavier is known for its athletics reputation, but Parady said events like BLINK show the university puts value in other initiatives and also has “a cool SAI program.”

Parady appreciates the opportunity to show the diversity of activities offered at Xavier.
Other Xavier students who participated with SAI also enjoyed the event.
“It was fun getting to see everyone excited and enjoying themselves, especially the kids, who reached out into the parade to get closer,” first-year James Reyes-Gomez said.
First-year Emma Malinoski agreed. “It was successful because everyone who was watching seemed entertained when we walked by, and they all had fun,” Malinoski said.
Sophomore Daniel Zalla appreciated the experience of representing Xavier to the local Cincinnati area.

By: Katie Nichols ~Guest Writer~