28 September 2022

Moruya 'pumping' as Luminous laser light spectacular wraps up River of Art Festival

| Katrina Condie
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Light show

A crowd of more than 4000 gathered on the Moruya River foreshore to watch the first Luminous: Art After Dark laser light show. Photo: Sapphire Stories.

Saturday night’s Luminous: Art After Dark event has taken the Eurobodalla’s River of Art Festival to a new level, with more than 4000 punters lining the banks of the Moruya River to witness the spectacular laser light show.

The event wrapped up more than 150 art exhibitions, workshops and cultural events held across the shire over 10 days from 16 to 25 September.

River of Art, Luminous co-directors Di Jay and Vicky Lascelles were thrilled to see so many people, including 1000 children, brave the drizzly weather for what turned out to be a rain-free night. The cloud only gave the skyward lasers extra impact.

“It was pumping and the town was abuzz, with people everywhere having lots of fun, hanging out and enjoying the market,” Di said.

“It was the first time that we held Luminous: Art After Dark and it was a festival within a festival.

“What this has meant for the art community is that we have been able to provide our local artists with an opportunity to get involved in digital art.

“There was a whole lot of artisans’ stalls here on Saturday night, local makers, blacksmiths, promoting their talents to the community. It was great for the local economy and great for the artists.”

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River of Art has been running in the Eurobodalla for 15 years and Di said the new attraction added another layer to the event.

“It’s festivals like this one that bring people to our communities. And we know that art is really important for people from a mental health point of view, for creatives to have real opportunities and for our community to get involved,” she said.

After moving to Moruya five years ago, Luminous: Art After Dark creative director and award-winning digital animator Duncan Irving said he was pleased to work with Genius Laser from Melbourne and to obtain grants to help put on a large-scale show.

“We thought the people here would love something a little different with digital media and video projections,” he said.

“It was just amazing, to be working (on the project) on a computer screen for months, and then to see the scale of it.

“I’m just stoked so many people got to see it, and I’m feeling pretty good that most of them enjoyed it.”

The concept became a plan about three years ago when Di, Duncan and the art community started cooking up the idea for Luminous.

The night-time event featured about 80 artisan and food stalls and performances across two stages, including by Dog Trumpet and Dom Turner and the Rural Blues Project and was pulled together by lighting and audio visual masters, Dynamic AV.

The festival showcased the region’s famous rock oysters from Wagonga, Wapengo, Clyde River and Shoalhaven.

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Festival chair Jeanne Joyce said a hard-working committee, 70 volunteers, sponsors and the community ensured the event’s success.

“We are calculating the financial impact and gathering feedback from our artists and patrons but we surpassed our expectations in every aspect of the festival, from people turning up to studios, workshops and exhibitions to Luminous,” she said.

The River of Art Prize competition attracted 50 artists and was won by Freya Job for her two works Lightning Strike and Firestorm, which speak to the bushfires.

The event is scheduled to run again from 15 to 24 September, 2023.

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