First Illuminate Salt Lake! festival aims to light up city with high-tech art

Event brings projected art, light displays, virtual reality and augmented reality to The Gateway, Eccles Theater Plaza and UMOCA.

Art meets high tech in downtown Salt Lake City next weekend in the first public art experience in Utah to meld virtual reality and augmented reality.

The event, Illuminate Salt Lake!, will launch Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10 and 11, at The Gateway on Rio Grande Street (450 West); at the Eccles Theatre Plaza, 130 S. Regent St.; and at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 S. West Temple, all in Salt Lake City.

The two-day community art event will feature installations by more than 30 artists, using light and technology as their media. These pieces include light art displays and projection-mapped artwork — art projected onto the sides of buildings.

The festival will also launch an augmented-reality, or AR, mobile app to allow users to use their smartphones to enhance the art experience and discover virtual works viewable only through the phones. Festival organizers will place 15 virtual public-art pieces around downtown Salt Lake City, plus an AR experience with 30 art installations. The app also has a game feature, letting users earn prizes by hunting for holographic robots hidden around the city.

Kids’ activities will include the Kids Light Lab at Discovery Gateway, educational demonstrations at Clark Planetarium, and a kids shorts film festival, Tumbleweeds Lite, presented by the Utah Film Center.

The festival will also feature live music and performances, food trucks, and local brews and spirits. The culmination is a 21-and-older After Glo Party in The Gateway’s Grand Hall on Saturday, Nov. 11, with DJs and performers, along with light art installations.

All events are free, except for the After Glo Party. Tickets for the party are $25, or $50 for VIP privileges.

Illuminate Salt Lake! is produced by the nonprofit Utah Arts Alliance. Go to its website, illuminatesaltlake.org, for more details.