BLINK director reveals more Covington locations to be lit up

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Additional Covington locations to be illuminated in this fall’s BLINK event were revealed Tuesday morning.

Last month, the region learned that Mother of God Church in downtown Covington would be part of the massive lights and art event that spans roughly thirty blocks from Cincinnati to Covington.

BLINK Executive Director Justin Brookhart was the guest at Tuesday morning’s “Eggs ‘N Issues” event hosted by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

He spoke to the Northern Kentucky business community on what BLINK means for the region from a variety of standpoints: artistically, commercially, and symbolically.

“The uniqueness of this region is what allows this event to take place,” Brookhart said. 

New details emerged from Brookhart’s presentation, such as details on light and art installations that will be featured on the festival’s Northern Kentucky side.

Brookhart said that the event aims to create an experience that is exciting, attracts world-class artists to the region, invites creators of other mediums to get involved, and deepens the impact in the regional community through collaboration.

“It was so important for us to literally cross that bridge, both physically and metaphorically to make this a regional event that really was a grand experiment for people,” Brookhart said when officially announcing the event’s return to Northern Kentucky on July 12. “That experiment worked.”

The Roebling Bridge is illuminated during the 2019 BLINK show in downtown Covington. Photo provided | Brent Cooper

In 2019, the event filled downtown streets on both sides of the Ohio River and downtown Covington locations were fully immersed in the experience.

Brookhart said Tuesday that installations this year will run from the Covington riverfront and connect with Roebling Point, downtown Covington, and stretch to the central business district.

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The Mother of God Roman Catholic Church at 119 W. 6th Street in Covington will feature a light display by Italian visual artist Alessio Cassaro.

Hotel Covington at 638 Madison Avenue will feature a light display from immersive experience designer George Berlin.

The First Financial Community building at 601 Madison Avenue in Covington will feature a display designed by local visual firm Spotted Yeti Media.

The Gateway Center in Covington at 333 Scott Street will feature a display from Cincinnati-based graphic designer Greg D’Amico.

A major installation featured in the festival is the Rosebud Rotunda, an interactive LED light display at the riverfront Covington Plaza, which features an amphitheater along the river. The installation includes programmable LEDs and real-time visualizers that organizers hope will create a “beautiful and engaging experience.”

The display’s design is inspired by a pattern of rose petals that creates a 360-degree viewing experience. The exhibit is designed to be inviting to patrons who are encouraged to walk through the display multiple times throughout the duration of the festival.

Besides new details regarding installation locations, Brookhart also shared projections and statistics with the audience. The festival hasn’t happened in Northern Kentucky since 2019, when it brought over 1.3 million tourists to the region throughout the three-day duration of the event, officials estimated.

“As one of the largest events in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region, BLINK will bring more than a million people – locals and visitors – to experience four nights of outdoor art and light installations,” said Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the NKY Chamber of Commerce.

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BLINK 2019 created $86.7 million worth of economic impact for the Greater Cincinnati area, officials estimated. In total, it raised $26.35 million in earnings. 28.6% of attendance for the event drew tourists from non-local areas, and approximately $10.5 million of total earnings came from non-local areas, officials said.

Event organizers are hoping to beat the festival’s previous benchmarks. Brookhart said he anticipates 2 million people to attend BLINK over the duration of the festival. Brookhart also anticipates a potential economic impact of $100 million.

Event organizers want the event to be a marquee feature in the region’s culture, joining other popular regional events such as Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The Greater Cincinnati area will join other communities around the world that host lights and arts festivals such as Vivid Sydney in Australia, Lights in Jerusalem in Israel and Lumiere in England.

BLINK is scheduled from Oct. 13 to 16, and will feature displays in both Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. 

Northern Kentucky cities such as Covington, Independence and Fort Mitchell are all financially contributing to the funding of BLINK, along with other corporate donors.

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