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Light the Night with Love illuminates community

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Pave the way for love! The second annual Light the Night with Love (LNL) is happening Feb. 11 and 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with a new route that begins at Town Hall, weaves through True Nature Healing Arts, and ends at the Carbondale Clay Center.

Co-hosted by the Carbondale Creative District and KDNK, LNL is an interactive journey along the Rio Grande Trail — lovingly renamed the “Heart Way” — that features whimsical performances, mixed-media art and homemade light installations.

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In 2021, with the heaviness of the pandemic and mid-winter’s gloom, LNL co-founders Barbara Frota and Amy Kimberly realized the community needed an opportunity to come together and remember the light within themselves. For Frota and Kimberly, that light can shine through art.

“Art is such a big transmuter of pain and sorrow,” Frota said. “Everyone has that potential to change their reality and, as artists, I think it is our responsibility to remind the community of their inherent power. The point of the event is to give artists the opportunity to get creative again and feel inspired.” She added, it’s also “to remind the community that they can do that as well and join us in our creative efforts to light the night up.”

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This year, the event showcases a wide range of talent that includes aerial performances by Sopris Soarers, other dance and musical acts, film, ice sculptures, blacklight painting and more, according to Kimberly.

Special 3D “love lenses” will be given to attendees, adding another layer of love. “You put them on and every point of light is encircled by a heart,” Frota explained. “Anywhere you are looking, from the moon to the sparks coming off the fire, you see hearts. Hearts, hearts, hearts!”

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Adding to the experience, KDNK will be lighting up the airwaves with love songs and hosting karaoke by the fire at the Clay Center, said Anderson Cole, the marketing and events coordinator at KDNK.

Additionally, KDNK’s “Love Line” is back! People can openly express what lights up their hearts by phoning 970-510-3250 and leaving a message. The recordings will then be played on the radio before and during the event, where KDNK will be broadcasting live.

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“Even though it might be cold, it’ll feel warm to be surrounded by a community expressing their love,” Cole said.

While there is plenty of opportunity to witness art along the Heart Way, Frota and Kimberly emphasized the importance of community participation to truly invoke the feeling of light and togetherness in the darkness of winter.

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Prior to the event, attendees are encouraged to purchase a farolito, or paper lantern, from The Launchpad and decorate it to showcase their love. Decorated farolitos should be returned to The Launchpad by Feb. 10 to be displayed along the Heart Way.

“It’s a really fun family activity,” Kimberly stated. “Families can get a couple; and the kids get excited when they find their farolito along the trail.”

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Attendees can become their own LNL installations and join a costume raffle. Come dressed in a glowing outfit — whether that be a hat, light-up shoes or wrapped in holiday lights — to be entered into a raffle for prizes from the Carbondale Creative District.

Through a collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, restaurants will be offering specials with proof of LNL attendance plus late-evening shopping experiences at True Nature and the Clay Center.

Love Notes, a new project, will be on display at True Nature. Community members can support LGBTQ+ youth by writing words of support to help children feel less alone as they explore their identities, according to Kimberly. 

Sopris Lodge will also join in with a collaborative piece under the guidance of artist Gabriela E. Mejia. “Residents are creating these beautiful dreamcatchers together,” Frota said. “In addition to Love Notes, this is one of my favorite pieces because it’s a creative outlet for our elders to be a part of the event, whether or not they can attend in person.”

Opportunities to volunteer are abundant, according to Kimberly, and volunteering is a great way to quickly connect with the community. Current volunteer positions include event set-up, break-down and peace patrol — to keep people safe along the route.

“For Carbondale Arts, our mission is to build an inclusive and equitable community through art,” Kimberly stated. “Every event we do is about bringing community together … It just feeds our soul to be able to bring people together throughout the year and give inspiration and hope.”

Ready to join the fun? Learn more about the event and volunteer opportunities at http://bit.ly/lightthenightwithlove

Art installations viewed through special 3D “love lenses” create hearts wherever there is light. Photo by Sue Rollyson

Tags: #Amy Kimberly #Anderson Cole #Barbara Frota #Carbondale Arts #Carbondale Creative District #KDNK #Light the Night with Love #True Nature
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