ABOUT THE PORTLAND WINTER LIGHT FESTIVAL
8th Annual Portland Winter Light Festival:
FEBRUARY 3th – 11th, 2023
FREE TO ATTEND
Our mission is to build community by bringing cutting-edge art and technology to diverse audiences while invigorating the city of Portland in winter.
The Portland Winter Light Festival (PDXWLF) is a city-wide, vibrant outdoor arts festival held at the height of winter, when there are few free cultural events taking place in the city, and builds community through collaboration between organizations, businesses, artists, and guests.
The 2022 festival hosted over 189,000 visitors and presented nearly 200 public art installations, performances, and workshops, all free of charge.
The Willamette Light Brigade (WLB) founded PDXWLF to propel forward its mission of connecting the community and enriching the public realm through artful lighting. The Festival began as a coalescence of ideas in 2016 and was spearheaded by Portland State University Professor of Architecture Jeff Schnabel, Creative Director Chris Herring, and former Technical Director Jean Margaret Thomas. The three were inspired by dynamic winter light festivals worldwide, such as France’s Fête des Lumières and Sydney’s Vivid. Executive Director Alisha Sullivan currently leads the organization.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR CHRIS HERRING
The inaugural version of the festival took place along the Willamette River, Eastbank Esplanade, and OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). In its fourth year, the festival's footprint expanded to areas in all corners of the city, including a major presence at Portland State University. In 2020, the festival was once again centered along the banks of the Willamette River.
The 2021 edition of PDXWLF was advertised as the "Portland Winter Light (non)Festival", reflecting the decentralized nature of the activities as necessary during COVID times. During an unprecedented time and through extraordinary weather, thousands of people came out to celebrate light, art, and community.
2022 was a banner year for the Light Festival, featuring over 135 pop-up art installations throughout the Portland Metro area filling retail spaces, storefronts that have stood empty for years, public spaces, hotel lobbies, and businesses with light, art, and community. The event revitalized our dormant downtown core by featuring four major anchor art sites in the central city, hosting illuminated sculptures, video projections, pop-up performances, food carts, and more. The work of over 147 community volunteers brought the festival to life, and the event saw a total attendance of 189,000 residents exploring all corners of the city over eight nights.
OREGON PUBLIC BROADCASTING
Portland Winter Light Festival Lights Up The Night
Here Are The Five February Art Openings We’re Most Excited to See
Winter Light Festival Brightens Cold Nights
PORTLAND MONTHLY MAGAZINE
'The Portland Winter Light Festival is Back'