PATCHOGUE, NY – About three years ago, the Patchogue Arts Council people considered and tried to come up with ideas for an event that would go down well in the village.
Cultural Foundation Director Beth Giacummo-Lachacz and Cultural Foundation President Lori Devlin were both interested in avant-garde contemporary art and media, noting that light installation festivals had become popular around the world, particularly in European cities like Berlin in Germany and Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
For them, the media seemed like an interesting choice for an event.
“We just love that and that’s what we wanted to see here at Patchogue,” said Giacummo-Lachacz. “So we thought, ‘We can do this.'”
They started doing research, and it turned out to be a tough job producing a high-tech show like a festival of lights, but MoCA LIights – the Long Island’s Musuem of Contemporary Art, the island’s only open-air museum – started to close anyway to develop.
“It’s not just something we can bring together ourselves, and it requires a lot of fundraising because the equipment is very expensive to rent and then you have all the elements like overnight security for the entire event.”
There are also artist commissions that have to be paid.
However, the council was fortunate to have some major sponsors who “really supported and excited the event,” said Giacummo-Lachacz, adding that the council was also able to use grant funds.
The event is made possible by sponsors such as Suffolk Count and its Office of Cultural Affairs, the Long Island Community Foundation, National Grid and PSEG, as well as local businesses and numerous community members.
While the Council of Culture began planning for the event three years ago, they decided to add extra space to the installation after the COVID-19 outbreak last year, so residents and visitors alike were able to use the marquee for the historic Patchogue Theater for the performing arts was dark and other live music venues were closed.
Last December’s event was a success so the Culture Council decided to bring it back. But this time it will go much longer.
MoCA Lights 2021: It Lights a Village is a three-part event that starts this Thursday with a guided tour – via an app – that can be followed from start to finish in the village and runs until Sunday.
For the festival, selected buildings on Main Street serve as the backdrop for a moving light display created by a group of local and international artists. The facades of well-known landmarks like the Arts Council headquarters on Terry Street, the US Post Office, United Methodist Church, the old courthouse, Carnegie Library, and 44 West Main Street, which was once the bridal shop, will all feature curated displays .
The Patchogue-Medford Library, which gets a new mural every year, will have an animated design for the first time this year.
The second part of the installation is “Art on the Marquee” by the Patchogue Theater, which shows curated designs by artists on its tent. The third part of this year’s installation is the “Night Visions Projected Gallery”. It includes the Roe Walkway Piazza and the final stop on the tour is the gallery in the Better Man Distillery.
“It’s easy to start or end there,” said Giacummo-Lachacz of the distillery. “They have the longest running time.”
Depending on what night you see the night vision gallery and where the visitors are, they can view a range of curated works for anywhere from 36 minutes to over an hour. There are two curated works – the first from MoCA Curatorial and the second called Pandemic Projections 3.0, which is curated by a group from New Jersey called Wavelength.
The festival takes place every evening from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The council also elected its first “Glow Marshal” this year – the Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco, who was instrumental in ensuring the district’s cultural arts funding for the cultural council. He will lead a special invitation-only ceremony on Thursday to honor the artists who participated in the installation.
In contrast to the four-day walk-in tour, “Art in the Marquee” will continue every night until the end of December.
Giacummo-Laschacz said it was difficult for her to choose her favorite part of the event.
“My favorite part of the tour is the entire tour because I can work creatively on it – it’s like my baby,” she said. “I really love working with … No, it’s hard because I love every part.”
Marquee projection mapping isn’t done often in Long Island so it’s really exciting for them to see it in Patchogue.
“It’s really interesting to work with artists from all over the world to somehow transform these buildings that I essentially grew up with,” she said, adding that she grew up in the historic village. “So it’s kind of cool to see these things transform, you know.”
In the meantime, Giacummo-Laschacz is looking forward to continuing the annual tradition.
âIt’s very important to us to see the entire village as a museum space and to take the artwork from the Lightbox Gallery and bring it to Main Street,â said Giacummo-Laschacz, adding, âand really involving the people and sort of immersed them in the experience of work that. “
“That was really important to the whole idea of ââthe event,” she said.