Winter Night Lights - February 1 - February 28, 2022

Downtown Winter Night Lights is a one-month-long public art and light experience starting February 1, 2023, through February 28, 2023. The goal of the experience is to draw the community out in a traditionally slow winter month by creating an electric-like atmosphere that is entirely free and open to the public and visitors for 28 days.

The project, underwritten in part by the ICDD and Think Iowa City, would be entirely self-guided and open and accessible to children, families, and the young at heart. The experience will center around different lighting elements in the pedestrian mall area and activated each Friday with a one-of-a-kind party experience. Winter Night Lights includes 4 significant lit elements intended to pique the community’s curiosity and keep attendees wanting to come time and time again.

Schedule & Programming

The February experience will center around four different lighting installations combining traveling, annual, and permanent features, from local and international artists throughout the ped mall.

– Supported by the ICDD, Think Iowa City, OPN Architects, Axiom Consultants, and MidAmerican Energy, Iowa City will be the only U.S. community in 2023 to welcome internationally renowned artist Amanda Parer’s installation, “Intrude”. All the way from Australia, Downtown Iowa City will host six enormous rabbits as they adorn several sections of the ped mall to provoke a sense of wonder and playful interactions while raising questions about our relationship with the natural world. “It can be said that the rabbit is my muse. My artwork, Intrude, is like any good fairytale, it works from both the light and the dark. In Australia, the rabbit simultaneously represents a cute, cuddly character from our childhood and is an animal known to impose great destruction on the island continent’s delicate ecosystems. It has been fun to use these motifs to explore our relationship with the natural world”, said artist, Amanda Parer.

  • Thanks to the support from our sponsors, each Intrude rabbit has been given a name: Bertha, Helen, Buster, Hippie T. Hop, Charlie, and Watt-son. Come interact with the rabbits and treat them as if they were real rabbits – give them a gentle touch, snap some photos with them, or even embrace them with a warm hug. Guests can have a fun conversation with each of the bunnies by scanning the QR codes on the signs or by texting ‘Hello [rabbit name]’ to 319-346-3443. Each bunny will have its own unique conversation to help you learn more about the artist’s environmental message behind the installation and why they’re visiting downtown.

– Through a partnership between the University of Iowa, Neumann Monson, and the ICDD, a new interactive 120-foot light canopy will be draped over one of the signature alleys in the heart of downtown. This new lighting installment will be open during Winter Night Lights and remain a permanent fixture throughout the year. This highly adaptable lighting canopy can be activated by sound with those that engage with it and is sure to set the stage for impromptu events and activities throughout the year.

– Interactive “Singing Trees” will be activated along the Dubuque Street corridor of the pedestrian mall, focusing on 6 trees with a full installation of lights to interact with the sounds and music happening in the City’s living room.

– Iowa City based artist Ali Hval has designed and installed six “Doodle trees” creating a bright, fun and eclectic backdrop to the Dubuque Street area of the ped mall.

In addition to these art installations, The Winter Night Lights experience will include each Friday in February will include cold-weather dance parties with silent disco at the Weatherdance Fountain stage. Beginning February 3, 2023, the community and visitors staying in the area will want to grab their parkas, scarves, and mittens from 6-9pm on February 3, 10, 17, and 24 for Iowa City’s soon to be first outdoor dance parties.

Event FAQ

When do things begin?
The installations have begun being installed on the pedestrian mall. The full experience will officially be on display starting February 1st at 5pm. The winter silent disco parties will be held every Friday in February from 6-9pm

What is all happening?
The Winter Night Lights experience is a self guided light based event featuring local and international artists.

The Doodle Trees, Singing Trees, Intrude sculptures by Amanda Parer, and Limbic Media light canopy will be on display 24/7 February 1-28.

In addition, Silent Disco DSM will be hosting Winter Silent Disco parties every Friday from 6-9pm

Where is this happening?
All Winter Night Lights experiences are outside on the ped mall

Is this for all ages?
Yes! All the activities can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone at no cost. Thank you to our sponsors for making this happen.

Where should I park?
The best parking is at the Dubuque St parking ramp. It is only $1/hr with your first hour free.

Thank you Sponsors & Supporters