The Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre Present MORNINGSIDE LIGHTS: ODYSSEUS ON THE A TRAIN, 9/20-26

The Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre Present MORNINGSIDE LIGHTS: ODYSSEUS ON THE A TRAIN, 9/20-26

The 3rd annual MORNINGSIDE LIGHTS: ODYSSEUS ON THE A TRAIN,presented by The Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University, kicks off on Saturday, September 20. Free lantern-making workshops, open to all, will be hosted daily at Miller Theatre from September 20 - 26. The week culminates in an illuminated parade of community creations that will light up Morningside Park onSaturday, September 27. All are welcome to participate; information and sign-up are

Over the course of the week, visiting artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles ofProcessional Arts Workshop will help community members to imagine and design vibrant lanterns inspired by Harlem artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988), whose work is the focus of a campus-wide celebration at Columbia this year. 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. They will draw inspiration from Bearden's own process, using the artist's layered decoupage of color to infuse ancient iconography with a modernist edge.

"In Odysseus's fateful voyage home, Bearden saw the aspirations of African-Americans to establish a sense of home amidst displacement and discrimination," say Kahn and Michahelles. "Participants will delve into Homeric archetypes - gods and monsters, heroes and nemeses - to find parallels in their own contemporary urban ethos, finding Home, as Bearden did, through the lens of Homer."

At week's end, participants will join together to showcase their final creations, accompanied by a participatory score by Nathan Davis that will give music lovers of all abilities the chance to build and play hand-made instruments.

Morningside Lights is produced in collaboration with the Friends of Morningside Park and their annual Common Ground festival, which takes place during the day onSeptember 27. The festival fills Morningside Park with performances and art-making, including a hands-on craft table dedicated to creating lanterns for that evening'sMorningside Lights procession - the culmination of a day of celebration.

Embarking from Morningside Park and concluding its journey on the Columbia campus,Morningside Lights: Odysseus on the A Train also acts as a prelude to the November 15opening of Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey at Columbia's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, an exhibition of the artist's 1977 collage series. A series of related talks, performances, and events designed for both a campus and community audience will be presented over the course of the 2014 - 2015 academic year.

Click here to view photos of Morningside Lights 2013.

From Saturday, September 20 through Friday, September 26, daily lantern-building workshops will take place at Miller Theatre, Broadway and 116th Street.

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 with adult supervision. Participants are invited to put their creative skills to use while building illuminated lanterns and fantastical sculptures.

On Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, workshops will run fromnoon 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 andThursday.

Those interested in taking part can visit for more information and to sign up for the build, the procession, or both.

Click here to watch a video of the lantern-building process.