Cincinnati is a pretty cool city. And part of what makes a city cool is the cool things it does. And one of those cool things is BLINK.
What is BLINK? I had the same question. In my two years of living in this city, I had never heard of such a thing, but I knew I had to check it out considering it was a one-of-a-kind event taking place in my very own backyard.
In words, BLINK was a four day light, art and projection mapping event that spanned 20 city blocks and was said to be the largest event of its kind in the nation. Using the city’s streetcar route, which was built to help connect the city, the city was further connected by murals, projections and interactive art along every walking block. All of this FREE and attracting more than ONE MILLION Cincinnatians across the four days.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but even pictures of this event don’t do it justice. But in an attempt to help you feel like you were there, my BLINK experience looked something like this…..
Living at the southernmost point of the event, my boyfriend and I set out a few hours before the sun would set and made our way to the northernmost point of the event so that we would make our way back home in the dark catching glimpse of all the city’s art on display.
Stop 1: The Banks
No matter how old you are, see-saws tug on our little kid strings. Too excited to wait for them to be in full glow, we got our fix in the sun.
Stop 2: Zablong on 6th Street
Despite food being part of the event, we decided to check out one of the newest additions to the 6th street area, Zablong. It’s menu is simple with only pizza, salad and homemade ice cream, but they leave a lot of room for you to make it your own. Think Chipotle, but for pizza! They also serve beer (+1 point) and have a cool name:
Za (ZAH) N. Slang. Pizza
Blong (BLAWNG) V. Belonging; Bringing people together across worlds, cultures, ages and in real time.
Stop 3: Washington Park
I know…shame on me. It was still daylight and the main attraction was already closed which was the only thing worthy of a picture. The Architects of Air Katena luminarium is a sculpture you can enter and are surrounded by radiant light impacted by the weather and sunlight outside. The only attraction with a cost, but deemed well worth it by those who experienced it.
Stop 4: Findlay Market
As we made our way north, the sun began to set, the disco ball began to rise and the music was turnt up. For what? BLINK!
Stop 5: Pleasant Street
Pleasant Street is the only street that connects Findlay Market and Washington Park in the OTR neighborhood which was turned into an active canvas where local artists were seen painting the sides of brick buildings under the moonlight.
Stop 6: OTR – 12th and Jackson
On a small corner of OTR, the “Lookin’ Good” mural is noted as the number one instagram-ed mural in the city. I mean, who doesn’t like being told they’re looking good?
Stop 7: Courthouse
Called “Truth & Perception”, a projection mapping was displayed on the Hamilton County Courthouse that expressed political undertones as live poetry about innocence, guilt and justice were read aloud.
Stop 8: Contemporary Arts Center
Being an art museum itself, the CAC was the big kid on the block and stole the crowd on 6th street with it’s abstract, animated projection mapping.
Stop 9: Business District – 6th and Walnut
A mural not actually spotlighted by BLINK, but a personal favorite of mine added to the city back in August. A tribute to Ohio-born, Neil Armstrong, this mural is the largest (and brightest) in downtown Cincinnati.
Stop 10: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
An evening endcap at the building across the street from our apartment, images of Freedom were projected to remind us that “together we are beautiful.”
1 night, 5 miles, 40 blocks, 100 attractions and thousands of people. Although there was no way to see it all, what was cool to see, was the city lit up, not just by the lights and artwork, but by all the people who came out for BLINK.
On the surface, BLINK was a reason to get people to explore the downtown, but if you dig a little deeper, I’d say it’s a gentle reminder that the best way to learn and appreciate the world we live in, is to get out there and see it and experience it for yourself.