Bow River – Canada 2010

The River of Light is a celebration of the rivers of the world through public art.

Past images of the River of Light

Boosting a rich history, this public arts project was developed originally as a community engagement project for London in 2008 and since travelled onto Calgary, Canada where it was witnessed by 10,000 people and was recognised as one of the top 50 outstanding public art projects during the Public Art Network Year for 2010.

Returning to Canada this summer as part of the Red Deer centennial celebrations, the project has evolved and grown into a series of city wide installations and intervention that will be sure to make this the most dazzling River of Light yet.

River of Light: Sources

In 2010, the City of Calgary’s Public Art Department in Canada commissioned Creatmosphere to develop the River of Light for the Celebration of the Bow River Festival.

River of Light Timelapse by Colynn Kerr

A narrative light installation that layered scientific data and geographic, geological and environmental observation this was a multi-site installation that included Sources, a matrix of 28 two-metre spheres in a lagoon that responded in light and motion to live data about the river (visualising flow, demand, quality and the water cycle).

It also included in-situ installations that marked the topography of river islands and culminated in the release of 500 illuminated spheres to create the River of Light across a 7.5km stretch of the Bow.

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Comments about the River of Light

As Linda Hawkins a writer from Canada so eloquently words it after her experiences of the River of Light in Calgary, Canada in 2010

“…the universal appeal of this event was clear. The pathways and riverbanks were full of people. Some settled in on lawn chairs with refreshments, as if at a sporting event. Others pedaled bicycles or abandoned them to perch right at the water’s edge. There was conversation but mostly there was stillness. A sense of wonder pervaded as, silently, the multicoloured constellation emerged from the surrounding blackness. The spheres converged and dispersed, mapping the river’s topography as they disappeared around islands and materialized back into view. Illuminating the river’s flow patterns, the spheres symbolized water molecules on their journey from source to city. Part performance piece, part installation, this artwork cast the river as both setting and lead performer.”

Read more about here write up of the Sources: River of Light in a dedicated publication about the event.

Download: (Large file – 11MB) – Thanks to writer, Linda Hawkins, Photographer, Carlos Amat and to the City of Calgary

Comments from Kayakers involved

There was a truly fantastic team of Kayakers on the river guiding the 500 illuminated spheres from Edworthy Park to Prince’s Island Lagoon, a big thank you to everyone on the river who made this event possible.

“It was an awesome experience! I gave a balloon away to a couple of little children and asked them to make a wish and to believe it would come true. Thank you for providing me with such an awesome experience!!!!!”
Derek Carter

“Thanks to you and the Creatmosphere folks for putting on such a neat event.  It was definitely the neatest thing I’ve done in a kayak, and I’ll be telling people about it for quite some time to come!”
Kevin Clifton


River of Light was recognised by PAN as one of the top 50 outstanding public art projects during the Public Art Network Year for 2010.


11 Jul 2011
Calgary Journal – Our City’s Art

21 Aug 2010
Sun Calgary – Bow River glow

16 Aug 2010
Calgary Herald – Glowing reviews for public art installation on Bow River 

Commissioned by

The River of Light: Sources was kindly funded by The City of Calgary. An enormous thanks to the Public Arts Department for their dedication and hard work with bringing the River of Light to their river.

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    Release the Baloons
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