The City of Lights procession includes music, dance, lanterns made by schools and community groups, and of course, the giant artist made lanterns.
These large lanterns are created each year by the City of Lights artists inspired by the year's theme. There is plenty of room for exploration and imagination, we've had a rhino, a giraffe, a squid, the Kings and Queens of England, local historical figures such as Joseph Emedy, as well as Elvis!
Many of the lanterns are sponsored by local businesses and organisations, and then get re-homed after the event. You can see some lanterns all year round at the Lander Gallery (Lemon Street Market, New County Hall and Waterstones. Some lanterns also visit other parades such as Redruth and Falmouth!
Tony Crosby (Artistic Director):
Tony helped to develop this parade in the beginning in 1996. He is a maker and curator and his automata can be found in collections such as Falmouth Art Gallery.
City of Lights aims to simulate the artists' imagination each year with a good theme and in this, our 21st year, our theme is 'Glow'.
We like to keep our lanterns a secret for the night. One of the key elements that keeps City Of Lights fresh every year is that we put a bunch of artists in a secret workshop with materials. Ideas are grown and shared, lantern scultpures created and the artists always come up with the unexpected.
When City of Lights started 21 years ago we wanted to create the possibility of a new tradition for Truro. Imagine the number of lanterns made over the years: many thousands by the children and over two hundred by the artists. This is quite a spectacle in anyone's eyes.
This year the City of Lights Team is also remembering someone who sadly will not be there to see this year's parade, Bill Mitchell, the Director of the extra ordinary Cornwall based landscape theatre company Wildworks, who died earlier this year. Anyone producing outdoor spectacles in Cornwall owes a huge debt to Bill who inspired and showed what was possible if you put community, p;ace and imagination together. This one is for you Bill.
I have worked with City of Lights now for almost ten years, enjoying the challenge of making the large lantern sculptures and working with schools to make their smaller ones. It's a wonderful sight to see Truro and it's wider community come together to enjoy the procession.
This year, lantern-making has also taken me to the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan International festival, where I worked with Sue and Pete Hill to make illuminated sculptures for the event. Trained as a fine artist at Falmouth College of Arts, for the rest of my time I paint, exhibiting in Cornwall and beyond. I am inspired by my surroundings, everyday life, and the lure of the sea.
I have worked with City of Lights now for five years, working with schools to make their lantern projects and building my own large scale pieces. I thoroughly enjoy working with the school children, listening to their ideas, helping develop skills in making and watching the delight on their faces when the lanterns are lit in the parade. During my making of lanterns, I have been involved in several exhibitions, with my ceramic work. I am a graduate of University College Falmouth, gaining a BA Hons in Contemporary a Crafts. Exhibiting my work in Cornwall and Devon, I have been able to produce large scale installations and do artist talk on my subject of work. Current work in Barnstable, White Moose Gallery, is about the lack of art and craft being made on the subject of Birth Art and the narratives this creates.
I was first involved in City of Lights in 2002. Many of the years since then, I have worked with school and community groups to make small lanterns for the parade. I always enjoy the way the parade adds sparkle and wonder to cold winter nights and gives people a nice reason to gather. I am delighted to have been able to make large images for the parades each year since 2014. I love working with willow and find working large scale quite liberating. It’s inspiring to work alongside the other artists and a joy to watch the creations emerge. I also make parade images and lanterns for Golowan and Lafrowda festivals (amongst others),and am most years involved in making flags, banners, carnival costumes, painted signs, and running creative workshops.
How delightful to see City of Lights reach its 21st year! I hope there will be many more. I’m very much enjoying the making process and value being part of an inspired team and a wonderful event.
Sue has been a member of the team since 2016. She is a freelance artist and teacher with over 25 years experince working in secondary and higher education and community arts in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. "My initial introduction to City of Lights was as a volunteer at my children's primary school 8 years ago, and I am delighted to now be creating large-scale lanterns for this unique winter spectacle. I love delivering lantern workshops with schools and community groups and seeing the variety of creations in the final parade".
Imogen joined the City of Lights Team in 2015, as a Bursary Artist.
She is a contemporary impressionist painter who has recently exhibited at Atrium Gallery Truro, Trelissick Gallery and Tamarisk Gallery, Isles of Scilly. She regularly teaches at Newlyn School of Art and has an MA in Art and Environment. She is fortunate to have a studio which overlooks Mount's Bay.