Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District will light up this winter with an art and design festival that dazzles and inspires

Lights on the Exchange – Allumez le Quartier will debut January 21 and run through March 21. The Exchange District BIZ is in partnership with Artspace in launching the inaugural arts festival.

“The Exchange District has grown into a destination neighbourhood in large part because Winnipeg’s history is on full display with its unparalleled collection of preserved heritage buildings,” says David Pensato, Executive Director of the Exchange District BIZ. “By establishing a light-based art and design festival, we will create an entirely new draw for tourism in the National Historic Site while expanding the histories that are told.”

While drawing inspiration from festivals like Luminothérapie in Montréal and Fête des lumières in Lyon, the emphasis for Lights on the Exchange – Allumez le Quartier will be on artistic expressions that tell histories that go beyond those regularly told in relationship to its heritage buildings.

Eric Plamondon, Executive Director of Artspace, can’t wait to see the artist’s visions spring to life — and light. “There’s a rich diversity of canvases here,” says Plamondon. “Lights on the Exchange is a tremendous opportunity for artists to stretch their creativity, challenge Winnipeggers and establish a whole new chapter in the story of the district.”

In addition to Artspace, the Winnipeg Arts Council and Manufacturing Entertainment have been brought on to commission Canadian artists to create fresh, contemporary installations, sculptures and projections that will illuminate buildings, rooftops, storefronts and alleys.

Artists and artwork will be announced in the coming weeks for the first of what is intended to be an annual festival. New artworks will be released in stages throughout the run, and these will be added to in subsequent years.