COM0014 Blog #6: Do People Know Your Story?

My favorite customer story

In the Fall of 2013, Ottawa hosted its second Nuit Blanche, a city-wide art festival that runs from dusk until dawn. Nuit Blanche Ottawa holds a special place in my heart. It is an event where I feel without a doubt there is community support for the arts. I definitely felt this back in 2013.

So, leading up to Nuit blanche my friend Julie and I proposed an idea to the organizers:

Lemonjellow Luminaries – an art installation.
Paper bags display uplifting messages that light spirits up. Viewers are invited to contemplate what brings light into their lives and watch these glowing messages dance before them.

On the right is our mock-up image we sent in with our proposal. The theme for the 2013 Nuit Blanch was "Supernova"

On the right of the above image is our mock-up image we sent in with our proposal. The theme for the 2013 Nuit Blanch was “Supernova”

We got accepted! We started making callouts though social media asking our followers to send us inspirational messages to print onto our paper bag lanterns. We got many suggestions and beautiful personal quotes. Before we knew it, the date of the event was upon us. All was running according to plan! Until…

It started to downpour. We were situated outside of Arts Court, with no shelter from the continuous rainfall that started around 5pm. Thinking on our feet, we collected as many tents we could get our hands on and condensed our installation under our tiny shelters from the rain. (Originally our lanterns were meant to be interspersed throughout the area like in the mock-up photo above.) Needless to say we were very frustrated. Other areas had tents set up for them, but we were left to fend for ourselves. The attendance was dismal for hours.

A glimpse into how our set up being like. Yes, there are lanterns inside that little tent. Don't worry we used battery candles not real ones!

A glimpse into how our set up was like. Yes, there are lanterns inside that little tent. Don’t worry we used battery candles not real ones!

But around 9:30 pm our lanterns began to shine bright against the darkening sky. Small groups of people started to come into our tents to read the brightened messages. I was touched to see that people still came out despite the weather. At one point I noticed a woman who was particularly taking her time to read each lantern. I said hi to her. She then told me that she was a shut-in, but after hearing that this was happening in Ottawa she made herself come out that evening. She said that our installation made it worth it to her. And that she really needed to see those messages printed on our paper bag lanterns. This made my day and is my favorite customer story.

Here’s a look into those messages visitors got to see light up before them! (Click on any image to begin slideshow.)

4 thoughts on “COM0014 Blog #6: Do People Know Your Story?

  1. I love this idea.
    Inspirational messages always carry more weight when presented in such a compelling form, as evidenced by your special visitor. A very heartwarming story.
    I’m sorry, but I have to ask … did any messages go up in flames? If so, was there any irony in that based on the message? (And if none did go up in flames, how did you manage that?)

    • Thanks John! We used battery powered tea lights for the more risky locations. But also some real ones as well. I don’t know, we just kept an eye on them. They were pretty secure (the bags were filled with dry rice.) The dampness of the evening probably also helped! So no, there were no fires, thankfully!

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