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Taking Aurora to a New Level

by Jerome Weeks 29 Sep 2011 3:14 PM

They’re called ‘son et lumiere’ in French – sound and light shows – and Aurora is moving its video projections and sound installations to the Arts District this year as a free night event, part of the Art in October festivities.


This year, the Art in October celebration of Dallas’ Arts District will feature Aurora on October 28 — a free night of 70 works in light, sound and digital projection. It’s the most ambitious effort of Aurora to date, using surround sound music and buildings as projection screens throughout the 19-square-block district.

Last November, Aurora took over Dallas Heritage Village — with the kind of multi-disciplinary projections-music-installations event modeled on the ‘White Night’ or ‘Nuit Blanche’ programs in cities like Montreal, Toronto and Paris.  This year, director Shane Pennington has already unveiled his largest installation ever, featuring 3-D animations in the JPMorgan Chase Tower lobby. New creations will include a light and sound installation performed in the bell tower of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe — with carillonneur (carillon bell player) Carol Anne Taylor.

The full release follows:

The Dallas Arts District Releases Details of AURORA 2011

The Free District-Wide Art Event Featuring Nearly 70 Works of Light, Sound and Visual Installations Transform Downtown’s Arts District October 28, 2011

September 29, 2011 – The Dallas Arts District announces today details of the signature event of the District’s Art in October month-long celebration – AURORA 2011; a night of free public art October 28, 2011. This extraordinary art event from 7:30 p.m. – midnight, transforms the Dallas Arts District with nearly 70 contemporary works of light, sound, performance, and projection art.

Buildings will become projection screens; streets and courtyards will morph into art installations; and steel, glass, and concrete will pulse and reverberate, transforming The Dallas Arts District’s 19-square blocks into a mega-surround-sound system and uncommon art studio.  Through a massive collaboration among established and emerging artists from North Texas and beyond spearheaded by Aurora’s Creative Director Shane Pennington, Associate Director Joshua King and The Dallas Art District’s Executive Director Veletta Lill, Aurora was modeled after events known as “Nuit Blanche,” which is French for “White Night” or “Sleepless Night,” that take place annually in some of the world’s great cities from Paris and Amsterdam to Montreal and Toronto.  Aurora 2011 is the most ambitious undertaking to date of The Dallas Arts District,  which has  made great strides in bringing recognition to the arts centered neighborhood and its many amenities.

“Collaboration and innovation are centerpiece ideals for this neighborhood,” say Dallas Arts District Executive Director Veletta Lill. “Aurora 2011 takes those ideals to a different level and brings them to the streets.    This is an important part of Art in October which is all about bringing new audiences to the district and encouraging them to see the neighborhood in a different way.

Artists taking part in Aurora 2011 include local multi-media artist and Aurora Creative Director Shane Pennington, a Dallas Art Slam 2010 winner, with his largest installation to date “Carmen’s Wish” features 3-D animated dandelions dispersing in the wind  in downtown Dallas’s JPMorgan Chase Tower’s lobby; Aurora Associate Director and prize-winning photographer and modern artists Joshua King; director, photographer and freedom fighter Hal Samples; Peter Rand mixed media, video, and performance artist; and painter mixed media artist Sergio Garcia; among others.

The compilations of unique and stunning works that comprise Aurora include creations such as Pennington’s light and sound installation “Everything and Emptiness” slated for the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  The art installation using mediums in light and sound and will be performed live from the bell tower or “carillon” during the event.  For this ethereal and unusual installation Pennington collaborates with world-renowned Carillonneur Carol Anne Taylor, who is writing the music with him in order to compose the sound portion of the installation.   This very exciting and unusual concept and installation is just one of the close to 70 works to be featured that day.

The entire 68-acre footprint of The District—home to the Dallas Museum of Art, the Winspear, the Wyly, the Meyerson and more —will become canvases for participating artists to showcase their works. Major works will also be exhibited at Sammons Park (Winspear Opera House grounds); Annette Strauss Square; Betty B. Marcus Park; East side of the Meyerson Symphony Center; Cathedral of the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe; One Arts Plaza; Light Café   (Flora between Pearl & Olive); Museum Tower; the future site of Hall Arts Center; and the future site of City Performance Hall, among others.

In addition to the major sites noted above, attendees will discover art in unexpected places from One Arts Plaza to Trammel Crow Center – there will be dozens of multi-sensory and participatory experiences as the public explores the Dallas Arts District in a new and unexpected way.  Visit to learn more and plan your visit.


6:00 p.m.                     EnLIGHTened Evening: Diwali; Crow Collection (FREE) and

‘til Midnight at the Nasher; Nasher Sculpture Center

7:30 p.m. -12 a.m.       Aurora 2011; The Dallas Arts District (FREE)

8:00 p.m.                     Dallas Theater Center, To Kill a Mockingbird; Wyly Theatre

8:00 p.m.                     Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Scheherazde; Meyerson Symphony Center

Parking and Exploring the Exhibit

For the evening of October 28, 2011, Flora will become a pedestrian walk-way of art, live entertainment and hosted lounges and spaces, so Flora will be closed to traffic between Crockett and Leonard and between Olive and Pearl.  Attendees will be able to enter the event from any point in the District and chart their own path as they wander, explore and experience the art throughout the District.  Ten public lots and garages will be available for parking in and near the District visit

DART is the Dallas Arts District’s transportation provider of choice; for more information about accessing downtown via public transportation visit


Unique and engaging food and beverage offerings will be available for purchase from a variety of food trucks placed in various locations on Flora St. including: SSahm, Greenhouse, Nammi, Gandolfo’s and Jack’s Chowhound, City Street Grill and Yum Yum; and for those that love desserts, Trailercakes and EntICEd will be on hand.

For cocktails, lite bites and live entertainment nestled among the exhibit, two lounges have been created for the event – The Art Patio, which will be on Flora Street across from Betty Marcus Park, between Crockett &Leonard and the Light Lounge & Café, located on Flora Street between Olive and Pearl.

About Art in October

Art in October features more than 170 events, many free or at a reduced price, during the month of October on Flora Street in Downtown Dallas.  The month-long Art celebration of the Dallas Arts District spotlights the district’s organizations, venues, exhibitions and programs with a variety of events while raising the bar from last year’s successes.  Art in October 2011 is a diverse mix of stunning district-wide exhibitions and community-oriented elements designed to entertain and engage audiences of all ages.

October is a significant time for the Dallas Arts District; it is the anniversary of the opening of the AT & T Performing Arts Center and the Nasher Sculpture Center, it is the start of the season for groups like The Dallas Opera and new exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art are frequently previewed during the month.  October is also National Arts and Humanities Month, providing a national as well as a regional cause for celebration.

Art in October Spotlight Days throughout the month include: October 1 – OPENING CELEBRATION PRESENTED BY CADILLAC; October 8 – DANCEAFRICA; October 9 – SIXTH ANNUAL FIESTA LATINOAMERICANA!; October 21 —FRIDAY NIGHT ARTS; October 27 – SACRED SPACES OF THE ARTS DISTRICT TOUR ; October 28 – AURORA; and October 30 – CLOSING CELEBRATION.

The Dallas Arts District organizations participating in this celebration include: The AT&T Performing Arts Center, Booker T. High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Center for Architecture, Dallas Film Society, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Theater Center, Nasher Sculpture Center, and TITAS.

For a full schedule of activities, please visit Art in October media partners and sponsors include Cadillac, Dallas Observer, DART, Sheraton Dallas Hotel, BUYLEDS, CBS 11, D FrontRow, Charlie Uniform Tango, University of North Texas, CBS Radio Dallas including 105.3 The Fan (KRLD FM), 103.7 Lite FM (KVIL), 98.7 KLUV (KLUV), KRLD NewsRadio 1080 (KRLD AM), MEGA 107.5 (KMVK) and 100.3 JACK FM (KJKK), Factory Girl, Airstar Lighting of Texas, Art+Culture, Connect a Million MindsTM an initiative of Time Warner Cable, WRR Classical 101.1 as well as Heineken, Jack Daniels, Macallan® Scotch Whisky, and Brugal ® Rum.  For more information about the Dallas Arts District, please visit For more information about Downtown Dallas, Inc., please visit  DART is the Dallas Arts District’s transportation provider of choice; for more information about accessing downtown via public transportation visit

About The Dallas Arts District

The Dallas Arts District is the largest arts district in the nation, spanning 68 acres and 19 contiguous blocks in the heart of downtown.  With stunning architecture, including four buildings designed by Pritzker Prize winning architects, world-class exhibits and exemplary cultural programming, the Dallas Arts District has become the landmark that defines the heart of the city of Dallas.

Established in 2009 as a private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization as the AT&T Performing Arts Center neared completion, today’s Dallas Arts District serves the residents and patrons of the district increasing awareness of and access to the arts and the Arts District.  Operating under the umbrella of Downtown Dallas, Inc. as advocate, steward and representative, The Dallas Arts District serves participating organizations including the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Film Society, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Theater Center, and the Nasher Sculpture Center, One Arts Plaza, Hall Financial, among others.

The Dallas Arts District is funded by grants, voluntary membership dues, sponsorships and donations.  To learn more about how you can help support your Dallas Arts District visit