Artist Joshua Schmidt will be featured at the first ever Light Up the Hills lantern festival with an installation titled “Luminous Grove” within the forested area alongside Langford Lake Road. This image is an illustrated teaser of what Schmidt’s laser display will look like.

KRISTI HOFFMANN: The Hills are alive with art and music

West Shore Arts Council reminds residents of lantern workshops, Light Up

On Sept. 24 the West Shore Arts Council and Westhills proudly present Light Up the Hills, the West Shore’s first annual lantern festival.

“We are very excited about bringing the community together to embrace art creation and art experiences in a safe and family friendly environment,” said Laura Davis, council president. “We hope that this will become a signature event on the West Shore.”

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the festival extends through the Westhills development in Langford, where various illuminated artworks, musicians and performers will be showcased. The path runs from Belmont secondary along Langford Lake Road, and congregates at a main stage near the Langford YMCA.

Locals are invited to carry hand-made lanterns along the illuminated pathway. Three lantern-making workshops have been scheduled during the week preceding the event. The registration fee for each workshop covers all materials and instruction. A portion of the fees will be donated to the Victoria Hospice.

In July, the West Shore Arts Council released a call to artists, seeking designs for illuminated artworks to be featured at the event. Last month four designs from local artists were selected. Participants starting at Belmont will first encounter Moon Play, the work of emerging artist Laura Rechwan. “It is such a positive feeling to know that not only will my work be displayed, but also that the West Shore Arts Council and Westhills have come together to support professional artists, in such a meaningful way, by providing grant funds for the project,” said Rechwan.

As festival-goers approach Westhills Park, they will immediately catch sight of the illuminated dancers from the Lighthouse Academy of Dance. A large glowing sculpture from artist James “Jimbo” Insell will be placed just beyond. Insell is working alongside the Robazzo Design Studio and Limbic Media to develop the 16-foot diameter semi-circular interpretation of the James and the Giant Peach namesake.

“The peach will glow vibrantly and will pulse and change colour, mimicking a giant lantern,” Insell said. The sculpture will become a part of the set for the Kaleidoscope Theatre production of the Roald Dahl classic in November.

Within the forested area alongside Langford Lake Road, visitors will also experience a striking laser display from Joshua Schmidt. “It’s great news to hear my project, the Luminous Forest, will be part of a new tradition in the West Shore,” he said.

“My installation piece – The Western Hills Luminous Grove – creates the illusion of a bio-luminescent forest, evoking a sense of awe and wonder in viewers who look upwards to see the gently glowing leaves above them,” he added.

The fourth featured artwork is from Victoria design collective Robazzo Studio. The sculptural piece, titled StalagNight, is inspired by stalagmites, the naturally occurring geological forms found in caves.

“This three-dimensional sculpture evokes a natural and prehistoric form while exemplifying modern technologies and building methods,” said Andrew Azzopardi, co-founder of the studio.

StalagNight will be placed near the main stage area, where faculty and students from the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s contemporary music program will perform an arrangement of jazz, folk and gypsy music.

For more information and to find out how to get involved, visit

Lighting the way

n Public lantern-making workshops are planned to help brighten up the Festival of Light in Westhills. They happen Sept. 17, 20 and 21 and the $9 admission covers the cost of materials. See for details.

Kristi Hoffmann is communication and outreach co-ordinator for the West Shore Arts Council.


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