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August 20, 2015
Information: 212/854-7799  
Aleba Gartner, 212/206-1450
Charlotte Levitt, 212/854-2380
“If you’re a fan of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, you’ve probably wondered
how those amazing puppets are created and brought to life. This weekend is your chance
not just to see behind the scenes but also to participate in the process.” 
– The New York Times 

“Each fanciful structure embodied its creators’ ebullient dreams. Assembled into a city of light 
when the parade finally took shape, the lanterns formed a collective vision of urban life 
in all its creative diversity.” –

The Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre

at Columbia University School of the Arts

present the fourth year of a beloved community tradition


"New York Nocturne"

September 19-26, 2015

A week of free community arts workshops culminates in a
procession of handmade lanterns inspired by New York City after dark
Concept and direction by PROCESSIONAL ARTS WORKSHOP
Daily lantern-building workshops, Sept. 19 – 25
Miller Theatre at Columbia University (2960 Broadway)

Family craft table at the Common Ground festival, Sept. 26, 2–5 p.m.
Morningside Park (114th St. and Morningside Ave.)

Illuminated procession on Saturday, September 26, 8 p.m.
Begins in Morningside Park (116 St. & Morningside Ave.)

Sign-up at

Click here to view photos of Morningside Lights 2014
Morningside Lights 2014, Photo by Matthew Murphy.
From Melissa Smey, Executive Director
Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University: 
“For the past three years, it has been an honor to kick off a new year at Columbia with Morningside Lights. It is thrilling to see how a passionate community comes together through the shared goal of bringing this illuminated procession to life. For this year’s theme, New York Nocturne, Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts Workshop invite participants to let their imaginations run wild with interpretations of the city at night. I can’t wait.” 
The 4th annual MORNINGSIDE LIGHTS, presented by the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University, kicks off on Saturday, September 19 with the theme NEW YORK NOCTURNE. Free lantern-making workshops, open to all, will be hosted daily at Miller Theatre from September 19–25. The week culminates in an illuminated parade of community creations that will light up Morningside Park on Saturday, September 26. All are welcome to participate; information and sign-ups are available at
Over the course of the week, visiting artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts Workshop will help community members imagine and design vibrant lanterns inspired by New York City after dark. Fluorescent food trucks, Art Deco building spires, and decked-out party people are all fair game for inclusion in this year’s procession. Kahn and Michahelles will also facilitate the production of the fleet of 100+ illuminated objects by teaching participants the artistic fabrication techniques needed to bring their ideas to life. 

“What image defines New York at night? Is it the bustling nightlife of club-goers and hipsters, or rustling wildlife of raccoons, luna moths, bats, and owls? A glowing marquee or a backlit steam vent?” ask Kahn and Michahelles. “New York is many things to many people, but never more so than after dark.  This year’s edition of Morningside Lights will bring a host of nocturnal images into fleeting focus, as we once again gather to illuminate the nightscape of Morningside Park.”

Morningside Lights is produced in collaboration with the Friends of Morningside Park and their annual Common Ground festival, which takes place during the day on September 26. The festival fills Morningside Park with performances and art-making, including a family-friendly craft table dedicated to creating lanterns for that evening’s Morningside Lights procession – the culmination of a day of celebration.

The Lantern-Building Workshops

From Saturday, September 19 through Friday, September 25, daily lantern-building workshops will take place at Miller Theatre, Broadway and 116th Street. Participants are invited to put their creative skills to use while building illuminated lanterns and fantastical sculptures.

Workshops are free and open to participants of all backgrounds and abilities. Activities are geared toward teens and adults, but children ages 8 and up are welcome if working with a participating adult. 

On Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20, workshops will run from noon to 6 p.m. During the week, workshops will run from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

Those interested in taking part can visit for more information and to sign up for the build, the procession, or both.
Alex Kahn, PAW Co-Artistic Director, with workshop participants. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Processional Arts Workshop

PAW's Sophia Michahelles and Alex Kahn at Morningside Lights 2012, Photo by Shawn Brackbill
Processional Arts Workshop (PAW), under the direction of Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles, creates site-specific parades, processions, and immersive theatre happenings worldwide. Inspired by diverse, global traditions of Carnivalesque street theatre, large-scale puppetry, and ritual pageant, PAW uses processional art as means to build and sustain community spirit and awareness, designing original works for established public events and festivals, as well as seeding site-specific pageant traditions in communities where no such events may have existed before. Drawing on regional cultures, history, folklore, ethnicity, and current sociopolitical concerns, PAW engages local residents in every stage of production, empowering them to identify and express the narratives that uniquely define “local” in their own community, against the modern tide of global homogenization.

The Arts Initiative

The Arts Initiative at Columbia University is a pioneering venture to make arts and culture a meaningful part of every Columbian's experience. Founded in 2004, the Arts Initiative’s diverse programs encourage students, faculty, and staff to experience the creative life of the campus, engage the cultural riches of New York City and the wider world, and create arts and performance. Under the auspices of the Arts Initiative, Columbia students, faculty, and staff attend cultural events across New York City, benefit from ticket discounts and subsidies, and connect to one another through the Arts Initiative’s vibrant programming. At its core, the Arts Initiative creates and facilitates opportunities for cross-disciplinary exchange and is integral to the fabric of campus life. Its programs benefit from engagement with Columbia's world-class faculty, especially those of the School of the Arts, of which it is a part.

Miller Theatre

Miller Theatre at Columbia University is the leading presenter of new music in New York City and one of the most vital forces nationwide for innovative programming. In partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts, Miller is dedicated to producing and presenting unique events, with a focus on contemporary and early music, jazz, opera, dance, and multimedia performances. Over the past 25 years, Miller Theatre has helped launch the careers of myriad composers and ensembles, serving as an incubator for emerging artists and a champion of those not yet well known in the United States. A four-time recipient of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, Miller has built a reputation for attracting new and diverse audiences to programs highlighting underrepresented corners of the classical music repertoire.

In June 2011, Miller Theatre produced its first free outdoor performance in Morningside Park, presenting John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit performed by 99 percussionists scattered throughout the park. September 2012 marked the first Morningside Lights procession, a widely popular and “eerily beautiful” (Time Out New York) event, now an annual celebration. Other community programs include free early-evening Pop-Up Concerts and, for the first time in the 2015-16 season, a theatrical holiday production of The Carnival of the Animals. 
For further information, press tickets, photos, and to arrange interviews,
please contact Aleba & Co. at 212/206-1450 or

Copyright © 2015 Aleba & Co., All rights reserved.

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