BLINK festival illuminates XAS work

By Kayla Ross, Back Page Editor

The BLINK Festival returned last weekend to light up downtown Cincinnati. The festival is a celebration of arts, culture and diversity that takes place throughout the city and features many multimedia aspects, including lights, projections, drones, murals and sculptures.

BLINK, the largest outdoor light display in the world, last occurred in 2019, bringing an estimated 1.5 million visitors to Cincinnati. The festival spans all over the city, from Fountain Square to Over the Rhine and the Banks. There were approximately 100 different displays of art this year, spanning roughly 30 blocks of Cincinnati.

A variety of different forms of art were created for this event. In the Cincinnati Music Hall, an organist played as people danced and took photos. In Washington Park, a maze of neon yarn hung as families climbed through and took pictures under black lights. 

In Imagination Alley on Vine Street, colorful lanterns illuminated the keys of a piano as people played and crowds sang along. The new colorful  murals painted along sidewalks and sides of buildings were a popular feature among fans of Instagram-worthy photo spots.

Several well-known downtown buildings were featured in displays, such as the Hamilton County Memorial Hall, whose exterior was transformed by a fiery sea of projected light.

Many of the exhibits were designed by artists with social commentary in mind. One new piece in the Weston Art Gallery reflects on the racial and societal connotations of the words “Black” and “White.” 

Near Fountain Square, the Asianati Night Market was set up as a celebration of Asian heritage in Cincinnati. The temporary exhibit featured food, art and music, as well as sculptures created by the Xavier Art Society (XAS), which were featured in the front of the display. 

XAS completed two large wooden sculptures for the Asianati Night Market complete with lights.

XAS defines itself as a community of artists in all forms on Xavier’s campus. This organization is made up of students who are interested in creating or appreciating art, regardless of major. 

“We made two four-by-eight foot sculptures of a tiger and a dragon. Students would help come in and paint,” XAS treasurer Aleni Antalis explained. “In total, 30 to 40 students were helping on these.”

Those involved in the project included students from both inside and outside the art department, as well as various professors interested in the projects. 

“Going outside the Xavier bubble, and through collaborating with an organization outside of Xavier, we were able to demonstrate our art in the city, and it will be seen by people throughout the world,” XAS president Nick Namyar said. 

“We are reaching people outside of the Xavier community and gaining recognition through social media. Getting all of these different disciplines of people to come in and help on this project allowed us to have a great final product,” he added.