Morningside Lights



morningside lights

processional arts workshop


arts initiative

miller theatre


press coverage



Morningside Lights: TRAVERSE kicks off September 17, 2016, inviting community members to create literary lanterns inspired by 100 years of Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry. This year’s edition of Morningside Lights will literally illuminate favorite passages by great poets of the last century.

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 procession will be the culmination of the Friends of Morningside Park’s annual Common Ground festival, which takes place early Saturday afternoon and welcomes young children and families to make simple lanterns they can carry in that night's event.

Explore past themes of Morningside Lights:

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, in collaboration with Friends of Morningside Park. This year’s theme was developed in collaboration with Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and their concurrent exhibition celebrating the Pulitzer Prize centennial.