As we kick off the new year, we are excited to announce ArtYard’s biennial Aqualumina Festival, a riverside lantern festival involving music, dance, and inspiring lighting along the river’s edge, returns this spring with a celebration of water itself — as a vulnerable resource, necessity, bellwether, and mirror of the sky.

Set for Saturday, May 18, 2024, the second Aqualumina Festival features a site-specific dance performance by Brian Sanders’ JUNK and community members and artists decked out as glowing aquatic creatures.

In the leadup to the Festival, we’re transforming a section of the Lynn & John Kearney Gallery into the Aqualumina Workshop, featuring a maker’s workspace dedicated to the creation of costumes and objects for the event.

Launching on Feb. 17, join a revolving cast of creatives in the Aqualumina Workshop in constructing parasol jellyfish lanterns, glow-in-the-dark fish puppets, illuminated cardboard boats, coral reef hats, paper mache lanterns, and a roving river surrey to accompany the festivities. These constructions will accrete in the gallery like barnacles through May 18, when they will slide off together with the folks who made them to the festivities. The maker’s space will also feature a photo booth where participants may capture themselves in their aquatic finery.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing family-friendly workshops by artists including Laura Bernstein, whose remarkable 120-foot-long fabric Miracle Tapestry will encircle the room, Frenchtown crochet artist Nicole Strafaci, and Philadelphia-based artist Em Rae.

The Aqualumina Festival was designed to bring the community together around the dreamy charms of a riverbank at dark. It launched in 2021 with a performance by JUNK in Ancestral Lights, an outdoor dance performance illuminating refugee narratives and kindling light in a time of darkness and displacement, culminating in a joyous communal dance featuring community members carrying illuminated paper lanterns at ArtYard’s Courtyard.