Nearly four dozen outdoor art and light installations will come alive Friday and Saturday when Dlectricity returns to Midtown Detroit.
Midtown Detroit, Inc. is behind the free event, which is sponsored by the DTE Energy Foundation and occupies open spaces throughout the Culture Center District and Beacon Park.
The displays range from large-scale projections to blinking and rotating displays and giant inflatables that are lit from within and glow in the night against the backdrop of beloved Detroit cultural institutions.
Dlectricity’s roots are in the defunct Detroit Festival of the Arts, which was held in Midtown until 2008, when the Great Recession derailed it.
“We were redeveloping Midtown at the time, attracting businesses and finding ways to make it beautiful, draw residents, build nightlife,” said Midtown Detroit’s Annmarie Borucki. “At the same time, people weren’t necessarily comfortable coming to the Cass Corridor for nightlife because it didn’t seem safe. So we had this idea of creating a nighttime festival.”
The first Dlectricity took place in 2012.
“The first night, it poured rain,” said Borucki, “and people still came out. The next night was absolutely beautiful, and we knew it was a huge hit. We put out a call around the world to attract artists, and we held the second one in 2014.”
The event was revived again in 2017, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed plans for another revival until this fall.
“We are incredibly grateful to DTE Energy Foundation and our foundation partners for supporting the return of Dlectricity,” said Sue Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit. “We are committed to producing a beautiful outdoor event and have engaged expert partners as we plan to safely come together, connecting with art and one another.”
The QLINE, which will reopen with full service Monday, is offering special service for Dlectricity this weekend.
Midtown Detroit continues to look to Dlectricity as a way to draw new life to the city’s midsection.
“It’s an opportunity,” Borucki said, “for us to animate our public spaces with art. It’s an opportunity for us to expose people to contemporary art, using technology as a kind of interactive force where people can engage in a different way. We bring our culture to life with this vibrant artwork, whether it’s a 3D video mapping project or a 40-foot tall, inflatable, internally lit sculpture in front of the public library. It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate some very Detroit-centric stories through light and new media.”
Dlectricity runs 7 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. For a schedule of events, go to dlectricity.com.