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Illuminate: Festival Of Light

November 30, 2017

San Francisco Festival Of Light - The Towers at Rincon Apts

A “festival of lights” is hardly a new concept. You’ll find many events, religious and otherwise, dedicated to showing off lights as a part of a celebration, but residents of the apartments for rent in downtown San Francisco are treated to one that might be considered a cut above many of the rest. Illuminate, as it is widely known, sets the town aglow and provides an opportunity to bask in the city’s amazing art scene. What hidden wonders does this multi-month celebration hold? That’s exactly what we’ll be exploring today, going through the many facets of this city-wide extravaganza and picking out many of the most pertinent highlights.

What Illuminate Is All About

First things first, let’s get the niggling, basic details out of the way. Illuminate kicks off right on Thanksgiving and lasts all the way up through New Year’s Day. The Map shows off where all the major attractions are located, and as you can see, they’re spread all about the city and involve a great many of San Francisco’s most famous spots. The event organizers say there are 37 installations in total, featuring 16 neighborhoods and 34 artists. There are also 3 free light tours that show off the installations with precision-guided detail.

You can see a list of those fine artists here. The lineup includes both individuals and collectives, represents multiple styles, and even features a few international entrants as well. To get an idea of the level of artistry on display, here is a snippet of but one of their profiles:

“Vito Acconci’s artwork and architecture are based on social interactions between people and the blurring of public and private space. His utopian, biomorphic designs aim to approximate the complexity of living organisms.”

The list goes on in similar fashion, detailing the accomplishments of what can no doubt be considered serious masters of their craft, and they’ve all come together to deliver a Festival Of Light that shall be remembered by many who view it throughout the ages.

And just what will the festival include? The Installations page on the event organizer’s website gives a glimpse into some of the sites you’ll be treated to, which run the gamut of creativity in a way you might never have dreamed. Language Of The Birds, for instance, might look like a group of winged creatures in flight, but a closer examination reveals that it’s actually a collection of illuminated books, positioned to trick the eye into thinking you’re viewing a flock of avians:

“Language of the Birds is a permanent site-specific sculpture installed at a pedestrian plaza linking Chinatown and North Beach. Each of the artwork’s suspended “books” mimic a bird in motion, with various wing positions created by the forms of the pages and bindings. Passing under the flock, pedestrians will notice words and phrases embedded in the plaza floor, which appear to have fallen from the pages above. On closer inspection, the fallen words are in English, Italian and Chinese, and were selected from the neighborhood’s rich literary history.”

The installation is located on North Beach, and, in a unique bit of ingenuity, this work is one of the first “solar power offset” pieces of public artworks in California. In cooperation with Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore, it provides solar energy to the city’s power grid, “offsetting the energy used by the artwork.”

Then there’s the Ethereal Bodies display in Cliff Garten, showing that displays needn’t be hung from above to draw attention upward. This installation “consists of nine undulating stainless steel sculptures lit by multicolored LED lights.” The steel spires range from 14 to 22 feet tall, and the surface of each has been carefully crafted to “achieve the most interesting interaction with sunlight,” providing an amazing sight during the day. At night, the spectral LED lights interact with the brushed steel on the pieces themselves acting like “little prisms to break the primary LED colors back into spectral colors to project a riot of hues.”

You’ll find descriptions like this of all the installations on the website, along with other important information like the date the pieces were made, where they will be standing, and, perhaps most important the best spot to view them from. Sure, you might have a convenient vantage picked out already, but the organizers have gone through the painstaking process of finding out the optimal position from which each of these works can be viewed in their complete splendor.

Bear in mind that trudging about on your own isn’t the only way to take a gander at this great art. While “walk until you see something” approach will surely get the job done, and there are self-guided itineraries available for those who want a semblance of structure to their individual excursions, the way to get the most communal experience from the Festival Of Light are through the free guided tours:

“Experience San Francisco's citywide gallery of light with free light art tours and artist talks, Thanksgiving to New Year's Day during the annual Illuminate SF Festival of Light celebration.”

These tours will take you through the neighborhoods while receiving an additional dose of information from guides and the artists themselves, along with the unmistakable feeling of being surrounded with fellow lovers of the lights as you stroll about town and take in the majesty. If you want to get an idea of when the best “Light Related Events” are taking place, simply click over to the Events page and take a peek at what’s cooking. Each of these provides a chance for additional fun to be had, like the splendid Winter Walk SF:

“Working in collaboration with the SFMTA and in partnership with Off The Grid, you can expect two open air beer and wine gardens, food trucks, live performances, carolers, holiday themed photo opportunities, lots of family-friendly activities, and other wintery surprises!”

And that’s just one of the many events that will be held while the Festival Of Light is going strong. Be sure to check out everything the festival will have in store and save the date for those events that will most interest you.

Apartments For Rent In Downtown San Francisco Are In The Middle Of It All

For the greatest level of enjoyment among the lights, residences like Carmel Rincon put you right in the middle of all the action. This If living in a premier location with spacious living spaces and resort-level community amenities is something that has interested you, this amazing location has everything you’ll desire within the confines of its pristine structure. Take a look at Carmel Rincon, and make it your choice for top-tier San Francisco living.