September 18, 2012
Countdown To Open Air: The 3-D Light Installation Set To Debut This Thursday Night, September 20 With A Free Opening Celebration Featuring Special Performances, Food Trucks, A Countdown And More
Open Air, the spectacular public art installation coming to the night skies above the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, begins this Thursday, September 20.
In just two days, Philadelphia will be transformed by the nightly illumination of 24 powerful searchlights, sketching beautiful patterns above the city skyline, visible from 10 miles away.
Such a blockbuster event deserves an equally blockbuster opening night. And we’ve got details on just that.
Opening Night Celebration
Open Air will kick off with a free, open-to-the-public opening celebration on Thursday, September 20, 7:30-11 p.m. right on the Parkway on the inner drive between 21st and 24th Streets, which will be closed to traffic.
Countdown to World Premiere
The festivities will include a live countdown and ceremonial lighting at 8:30 p.m., with additional presentations by Open Air artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Association for Public Art Executive Director Penny Balkin Bach and emcee 6abc Action News Anchor Monica Malpass.
Perhaps the most hotly anticipated special guest is Grammy Award-winning acclaimed musician Rahzel, the “Godfather of Noyze” and a member of Philadelphia’s Legendary Roots Crew.
Rahzel will set the Open Air lights in motion with his signature vocal ability to sing and rap while simultaneously beatboxing. So, so, so awesome.
The celebration will also feature a performance by internationally renowned singer and composer David Moss, who will also control the Open Air lights with his voice’s 4.5-octave range in the signature avant-garde style that has earned him accolades such as Berlin’s DAAD Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
A selection of local food trucks, including Lucky Old Souls, Foo Truck and Little Baby’s Ice Cream, will provide refreshments.
Plus, the winner of an online message-recording contest (being held now at www.openairphilly.net) will be announced; the winning message will be the first public voice to activate the searchlights.
Want to meet Lozano-Hemmer? The artist will also be participating in a Meet the Artist Reception, 6-7:30 p.m., at The Clubhouse at Park Towne Place Apartments (2200 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) prior to the Opening Night Celebration. Tickets (Patrons, $250; Young Friends, $100) can be purchased online.
Best Places to Watch
Also check out our interactive map of where to watch Open Air, below.
We are incredibly excited for this once-in-a-lifetime experience for Philadelphia. It’s going to be one of these events that you have to see to believe. And luckily, you’ve got three weeks to do it, starting with Thursday night’s opening event.
Open Air Opening Night Celebration
When: Thursday, September 20, 7:30-11 p.m.; ceremonial lighting at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway inner drive, between 21st and 24th Streets
More info: www.openairphilly.net
View Top Picks for Where to Watch Open Air in a larger map