2 February 2024

Livestreamed art and LEGO-inspired animations join this year's Enlighten line-up

| Claire Fenwicke
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Old Parliament House, Enlighten Festival.

Canberra’s institutions will light up the night once again during the upcoming Enlighten Festival. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Colour, creativity and technology will ensure that no two nights will be the same for visitors to this year’s Enlighten Festival.

It’s back from 1 to 11 March with an itinerary jam-packed with illuminations, interactive activities, music, film and fun for the whole family.

Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander and legally blind artist Dylan Mooney will be featured at the National Portrait Gallery, where he’ll transform the building’s exterior into a giant digital canvas.

Each night Dylan will use the animated backdrop for his livestreamed drawing performance which will appear in real-time on the building.

Meanwhile Parliament House will have its façade transformed into an animated creation inspired by its LEGO model counterpart, designed by LEGO certified professional Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught.

Arts educator Naomi Zouwer will run hands-on print-making workshops in the building’s forecourt, which will also be inspired by LEGO bricks and Parliament House’s architecture.

Questacon’s 2024 Enlighten Festival projections will highlight the connection between storytelling, curiosity, and the science that surrounds us.

It will include senior Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Violet’s acknowledgment of First Nations people as the original scientists, emphasising the importance of sharing knowledge between generations.

READ ALSO Headliners and free transport announced for multicultural festival serving up feast for senses

The centre of the Enlighten Festival Hub will host the main stage, featuring live music from local and interstate acts.

It will also offer up some of the best food and drink options from the region, including in the BentSpoke Beer Garden and new wine and spirits bar, Bar Berra.

There will also be food trucks and restauranteurs from across the east coast showing off their wares, along with local favourites.

Then there are the one-day-only events that you’ll need to put in your calendar.

Short film festival Lights! Canberra! Action! is on 8 March to showcase local film-makers, who will be interpreting this year’s theme ‘A Sense of Purpose’.

Australian rock legends The Hoodoo Gurus will be taking centre stage on 10 March for Symphony in the Park. They’ll be joined by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in a world premiere of their greatest hits reimagined by composer Alex Turley.

It all wraps up on 11 March, with the community invited to celebrate Canberra Day with the Canberra Day Appeal Fun Run to raise money for local charities through Hands Across Canberra.

This will be followed by a day of entertainment in Commonwealth Park from 10 am to 5 pm.

The Canberra Balloon Speculator will be running from 9 March to 17 March, featuring around 40 hot air balloons. They’ll launch at dawn each day, with hot breakfast and coffee available from the food trucks and coffee carts nearby.

READ ALSO Epic new mural in Kingston showcases young couple’s talent

It’s as the ACT Government announced Canberrans can expect more investment in local events and activities in the Budget Review.

The costs haven’t been revealed yet, but Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the targeted investments would aim to improve international visitor numbers, particularly from North America, China and India.

“We are on track to exceed the target set in the T2030 Tourism Strategy for our visitor economy to reach $4 billion by the end of the decade, but we need to do more, particularly to increase our international visitor numbers,” he said.

“We will also continue to invest in the evolution of our beloved major events, Floriade and the Enlighten Festival.”

A creative director will be coming on board for Enlighten 2025.

Most investment will be through Visit Canberra to focus on in-market events, travel trade engagement and marketing partnerships in key international countries. These will mostly be delivered in partnership with Tourism Australia.

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