Morningside Lights



morningside lights

processional arts workshop

arts initiative

miller theatre


press coverage



Morningside Lights: Flight kicks off on September 4, 2018, joining with The Audubon Society to recognize 2018 as the Year of the Bird. Participants are invited to help create lanterns evoking the power and the precariousness of migration on a changing planet. Flight honors the resilience and hope of populations on the move—avian and human—and celebrates the vitality and diversity that migrations have always brought to New York.

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 dozens of illuminated objects by teaching participants the artistic 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 8 with a flock of animated and illuminated birds filling the night sky.

Sign up now to participate in the workshops September 4 through 7. Families with younger children are invited to join us at the family craft table at the Down to Earth Farmers Market on Saturday, September 8. All are welcome to process with the group or see the lanterns along the route that evening.

Explore past themes of Morningside Lights:

In 2017, Morningside Lights celebrated “The Secret Gardens” of Harlem with illuminated birds, animals, flowers, honey bees, musical instruments, and more.

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.