Artists plan light festival for winter

Art and technology will meld in a new festival aimed at exploring the creative possibilities of light.

The inaugural Light Nelson festival will be held in July next year, driven by an artists' collective formed earlier this year.

Light Nelson Artist Collective representative John-Paul Pochin said there was a core of about 20 active members, with 60 people on a mailing list so far.

"The idea of the group is to allow artists to brainstorm ideas for Light Nelson, and also to bring together artists with ideas and technical people with skills to help turn those ideas into reality.

"There's a lot going on behind the scenes. It has developed into a fantastic group. We all come from very different backgrounds," he said.

Mr Pochin, a photographer with a background in physics and computing, said Light Nelson would merge art with science and technology.

He said the collaborative Nelson Arts Festival project, Life in the Luminarium, was an example of what was possible.

The innovative garden installation created by Mr Pochin, landscape architect James Wheatley and artist Geof Lusins combined exotic and native plants, interactive lighting and woven sculptures at Founders Heritage Park.

Mr Pochin said tentative plans were to hold Light Nelson from July 19 to 21 to coincide with the Nelson Winter Music Festival.

It would be based around the Queen's Gardens, the Maitai Walkway, and the top of Trafalgar St, with installations and performances possibly extending beyond that weekend.

Mr Pochin said it would give Nelsonians a reason to go outdoors in winter, lifting their spirits, and a reason for out-of-towners to visit during the off-season.

It would also allow artists and people with technical skills to do projects that they would not have thought of before.

"Light is a fascinating medium. We're asking Nelsonians to really think outside the square. We're open to any ideas, and we really want to get schools and colleges involved. It is a really good learning opportunity."

Mr Pochin said the Light Nelson Artist Collective hoped Nelsonians would buy into the festival - literally, with a crowdfunding initiative on the cards.

"We really want Nelson to take ownership of it. This could be something that's really good for this city. We want to make sure the projects people come up with are unique, clever and of a really high quality."

Go to to find out more, and to get on the mailing list, or email