“I don’t know about you, but I have caught the travel bug. COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health it seems, and more often I find myself longing to get away. The urge to travel is partially a longing to connect, not just with other people but with the natural world.”–anonymous
COVID-19 has affected the lives of every American in ways we are still grasping to understand. From financial stress to unprecedented changes in school and business, there is nothing our nation has faced quite like this. Now more than ever, people are longing for something to pull them out of the chaos. And now more than ever we need to make wise choices in how we travel. We are longing for opportunities to experience the beauty and to connect with what’s around us.
One of the ways people in the Northwest have increasingly chosen to connect during COVID-19 is through the National Park system. Wyoming, for example, has had some of the lowest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in the nation. Their national parks, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone, were able to remain open for the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic with very little outbreaks. Enjoying the great outdoors has become one of the easiest and healthiest ways to be physically distant and remain in-tune with the outside world. The outdoors will remain throughout the winter months.
However, experiences in the outside world don’t have to be limited to the national parks. In a world with an ever-increasing demand for individual, and oftentimes virtual experiences, digital designs are playing a vital role in a physically distanced pandemic America.
Digital designs are one of the most affordable and diverse ways to transform public spaces in ways that would be too cost-prohibitive for traditional capital improvements to take place. For example, holiday tree lightings, modern drive-in theatres, and socially-distanced architectural projection mapping offer the opportunity to set up live experiences with minimal changes to the structural environment. Drive-thru and drive-in live experiences offer the chance to mimic the traditional performance environment without costly overhead or unsafe practices during COVID-19 shutdowns.
Experiential design has been at the forefront of our culture preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer the benefits of a communal social function while allowing individuals to participate from the safety and comfort of their cars, outdoors, or from the comfort of your home. These options offer the blend of privacy and community that many are craving right now. And, there are many other options for virtual live experiences that are just scratching the surface of what we’re able to accomplish within the digital pace.
Join us this holiday season in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Where Cheyenne is bringing the lights to the holidays this year. Alt Ethos will feature two light experiences in Cheyenne this holiday season. On Saturday, November 21st, and Friday, November 27th we light up the Downtown Lighting Celebration through architectural mapping of the train depot located at 121 W 15th Street. That’s not all! From November 21 through January 1st, 2021, come by the Prime Time Holiday Drive-Thru at Blue FCU located at 2401 E. Pershing Blvd, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001.
The post-pandemic world is undetermined. What do we want to use to shape it, and how will we as individuals and communities contribute? That is the question that digital art and technology can provide if we are confident enough to venture out.
Note: Always follow the recent guidelines from local health and state agencies as well as the recommendations of the CDC to stay safe. If you or someone you spend time with have compromising health concerns, please avoid crowds.
COVID-19 has cost our nation so much in 2020. It has cost many individuals and small business owners their financial security, while others are struggling to cope with major changes in their duties as parents, employees, and leaders. Even for those who have not been directly impacted by loss of income or life, physical distancing limitations have put daily routines on hold and replaced them with something foreign and uncertain.
However, for some of us, these limitations have sparked creativity. Humans crave connection and we need it now more than ever; but our ideas of connection are changing to meet the demands of COVID-19. One of the ways in which this is happening is through the annual Thornton Dia de los Muertos celebration in the City of Thornton.
Traditionally, the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated in Thornton with a festival of food, drink, traditional art, and other activities to celebrate Mexican culture. However, due to COVID-19, the celebration was almost canceled this year. In an effort to replace the live event, the City of Thornton reached out to Alt Ethos to see if we could create something new.
Our team decided that instead of looking to replace the event with a substitutional virtual experience, we’d create something entirely new. We created a hybrid design that allowed for flexibility in a time of changing circumstances. Due to the increasing COVID cases in Adams County, our hybrid event that included the drive by in the park projections paired with an interactive online engagement easily into an engaging multilayer online experience on short notice. The event information was changed and with ease we have maintained the community engagement through this important event.
We are happy to announce that this year, from November 1-3, you’ll be able to enjoy Dia de los Muertos in a virtual interactive art experience from your home and engage in real-time with friends and relatives.
We’ve created an easy browser accessible app that allows participants to create collaborative works of art from any connected device. We present a live drawing tool that lets guests create fluid visual art virtually, in real-time, and in collaboration with other users. All artworks will be themed in traditional Dia de los Muertos styles, but feature modern concepts from at-home artists in Colorado. By using trusted technologies in modern ways, we are able to keep these traditions alive. All this while enjoying dancing and mariachi music.
Community engagement doesn’t have to be put on hold because of COVID-19. In fact, Alt Ethos is able to create 4x the participant engagement via virtual events as compared to traditional live events. Our original design included a drive by/park experience, but due to changes in country COVID regulations, we quickly and smoothly modified the project to fit the needs of modern times. Because Thornton residents don’t have to be physically present in order to enjoy the activities, more are able to tune in and make lasting memories and even connect with family and friends that are far away.
Public spaces are undergoing transformations as we navigate new rules and guidelines for social interaction. Lighting design reinvigorates places and brings them to life. Murals or large building surfaces can be transformed into glowing dreamlike creations when they would otherwise be obscured in shadow. Architectural lighting revitalizes our neighborhoods to support vibrant urban life, creates a sense of security and safety, and attracts new economic activity.
Groups like the Project for Public Spaces have valuable information on the best ways to move forward with engaging community spaces in this time of transition. In our recent Experiential Design Playbook: Solutions for Engagement During COVID-19 & Beyond, Alt Ethos outlines a number of inspirational designs for public spaces that bring joy and engagement to our communities in creative and safe ways. Via projection mapping, LED wash lighting, and no-touch interactive displays – an entire public square can be activated. Whether we are gathering six feet apart in a public square, or passing through our usual main street now filled with outdoor public seating options — an experience can be illuminated with creative lighting design in simple and impactful ways.
When people are venturing out with their families this summer, they will be on the hunt for engaging experiences, community events, and comfortable interactions that will give a much-needed lift to their spirits. Seeing their favorite public places brought to life with light would be a great way to do just that. Through public installations and interactive experiences, such as the Illuminous interactive projection-mapped mural in Fort Collins, CO, our communities can be welcomed back to shopping and spending time in public spaces with fresh, inspired eyes.
We encourage downtown development authorities and businesses to convert public spaces into interactive art using projectors, lighting effects, and sensors. These placemaking initiatives not only offer free public access to an immersive, child- and pet-friendly experience, but are proven to stimulate greater economic activity.
Alt Ethos, in partnership with Reactiv.io, recently illuminated Denver’s iconic brick mansion by the Downtown Aquarium and I-25. Together, Alt Ethos and Reactiv are creating experiential designs in Denver to inspire connection. Future immersive collaboration includes the Tennyson Street / Berkeley area – one of Denver’s most historic neighborhoods with private immersive themed bungalow experiences.
Architectural lighting in conjunction with an urban revitalization plan acts as a vehicle that reconnects people with a sense of place to emphasize the true strengths of a community. In 1989, the city of Lyon, France, introduced one of the earliest holistic lighting master plans to revitalize the dense historic core of the city. The origins of the festival date to 1643 when Lyon was struck by the plague. Today, Lyon is known as the “capital of light,” hosting the largest festival dedicated solely to illumination, the Fête des lumières, in part commemorating the day Lyon was consecrated to the Virgin Mary. The 2019 festival attracted 1.8 million visitors over 4 days.
Urban design has taken on a new level of importance to keep the residents of urban areas feeling safe. Alt Ethos works in collaboration with city planners and corporations to commit to the health and vitality of its community. Contact us to set up a complimentary consultation on how your downtown shopping area, municipal buildings, or public park can be activated with light.