Morningside Lights: The Secret Gardens kicks off on September 16, 2017. Participants are invited to create lanterns inspired by Harlem’s horticultural gems and the resourceful visionaries that tend them. This year’s Morningside Lights celebrates the neighborhood’s deep tradition of civic activism that blossoms in the gardens carefully cultivated in its many reclaimed spaces.

Artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts Workshop (PAW) return to Columbia's campus to lead free public lantern-building sessions, as we once again gather to illuminate the nightscape of Morningside Park. Kahn and Michahelles will facilitate the production of the fleet of 100+ illuminated objects by teaching participants the artistic fabrication techniques needed to bring their ideas to life. 

At Morningside Lights workshops, lantern building is a collaborative process — and the collaboration is part of the fun! Each day's workshop activities are a step in the process as our lanterns take shape from idea to final product. You may start a lantern for someone else to finish, or pick up where someone else left off to create a work of art that reflects the collective vision of our community. 

The week will culminate on Saturday, September 23 in an illuminated procession reflective of Harlem’s community gardens.

Sign up now to participate in the workshops September 16 through 22. Families with younger children are invited to join us at the family craft table at the Down to Earth Farmers Market on Saturday, September 23. All are welcome to process with the group or see the lanterns along the route that evening.

Explore past themes of Morningside Lights:

In 2016, Morningside Lights: TRAVERSE celebrated the Pulitzer Prize centennial and inspired lanterns illuminating favorite passages from poets who have won this distinctive honor.

In 2015, the theme “New York Nocturne" inspired participants to create fantastical evocations of the city after dark.

In 2014, Romare Bearden's 1977 collage series "A Black Odyssey" set the wheels in motion for Morningside Light's own epic "Odysseus on the A Train." 

In 2013, a sea-floor fantasy of luminescent life forms emerged from the workshops and lit our way from Morningside Park to the Columbia University campus as participants explored the theme “The Luminous Deep,” set to an original score by Nathan Davis.

The inaugural Morningside Lights in 2012 celebrated “The Imagined City” with illuminated skyscrapers soaring high above the crowds through Morningside Park. 

Morningside Lights concept and direction by Processional Arts Workshop. Co-produced by the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University.