The 6th annual MORNINGSIDE LIGHTS, presented by the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University, kicked off on Saturday, September 16 with the theme The Secret Gardens, inspired by Harlem’s many community green spaces. Free lantern-building workshops were hosted daily at Miller Theatre from September 16 – 22. The workshops culminated in an illuminated procession of community creations that lit up Morningside Park on Saturday, September 23.
Workshops geared toward teens and adults, but children ages 10 and up were welcome if working with a participating adult. A family craft table geared toward younger children was be hosted at the Down to Earth Farmers Market in Morningside Park on Saturday, September 23.
Harlem’s deep tradition of civic activism blossoms in the thriving gardens carefully cultivated in its many reclaimed spaces. This year’s theme invited participants to create lanterns inspired by these horticultural gems and the resourceful visionaries that tend them. Over the course of the week, visiting artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts Workshop helped participants imagine and design vibrant lanterns that evoke Harlem’s bountiful urban farms, flourishing fields of wildflowers, and beloved communal green spaces. Kahn and Michahelles facilitated the production of the fleet of 75+ illuminated objects by teaching participants the artistic fabrication techniques needed to bring their ideas to life.
“Since the first lantern procession appeared in Morningside Park 6 years ago, Morningside Lights has always been a community-built event—a place where hard work, creative collaboration, and shared accountability yield a luminous bounty each year,” say Kahn and Michahelles, “Join us as we continue to nurture a growing neighborhood tradition.”