Centennial committee to light up the river

Create, celebrate and commemorate – these are the goals of Red Deer’s Centennial Committee as members put together a number of events to be held in 2013.

Featured events include a centennial kick-off at Bower Ponds on New Year’s Eve, the planting of the Centennial Grove, a Homecoming Weekend in June and a special project called the River of Light.

The goal of this project, which will take place during Red Deer’s centennial year, is to celebrate and honour the river as one of the defining features of the community.

This exciting large-scale event will be modelled after the “River of Light” staged in Calgary on the Bow River in 2010, however, this event will be tailored specifically to reflect Red Deer’s unique community, officials say.

“Our community began on the river, at Fort Normandeau, and developed along the river. I’m so pleased to work with this group that understands the importance of the river to our community,” said Sheila Bannerman, chair of the Centennial Committee.

“The idea is to use the river as a context for doing a show,” said Laurent Louyer, founder and creative director of Creatmosphere.

Creatmosphere is a cross-genre artistic studio that focuses on the exploration of light and its interplay with art, architecture and space. Creatmosphere, based out of London, England, is the company heading the River of Light project.

According to Louyer each project they complete is site specific so his team needs to get a good understanding of not only the city, but the river as well. This is what prompted their visit to Alberta this past week.

They need to figure out the logistics before they can put a plan together. Things such as power and infrastructure need to be considered before the ideas for the project can come to life. “The City is our canvas.

“We work with the environment, we work with rivers and trees, we work with buildings and the cities,” said Louyer.

The event has zero environmental impact and all the data coming from the river analysis, both environmental and cultural, will be available for ongoing use by youth groups, schools and other interested parties.

The event stands to take place June 30, 2013. The River of Light preparations should start eight days before the event with a globe installation at a pond.

This weeklong installation involves the globes changing colour every 15 minutes with the colours representing the composition of the water during each of the four seasons.