The Lane was LIT

Words Rose Castle

Images Graziano Di Martino

Hobart’s fourth annual Light Up the Lane Festival

Light up the Lane is an annual event hosted by the Youth Arts and Recreation Centre, as part of National Youth Week. The festival is predominantly aimed at Hobart’s youth, with free activities and featuring local musicians, DJs and artists. As the name suggests, the festival shows off Mathers Lane, embellished with lights. Most prominently, Tom O’Hern’s beautiful wall art is illuminated by an ethereal blue light.

Light up the Lane is a wonderfully social occasion, with a weirdly paranormal ambience: dancing lights and figures with almost tribal face-painting glowing up out of the darkness.

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One of the most appealing aspects of Light up the Lane is that it’s accessible for all members of the community. All the activities offered are free, including henna, glow in the dark face and nail painting and many stalls hosted by organisations such as Amnesty International and Headspace. There is also the intriguing Glow House, an entire room lit by black light, and walls that you can draw on in luminescent markers.

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Jo, from Youth Network of Tasmania says events such as Light up the Lane “remind the community of all the wonderful things that young people achieve”.

She also says it’s important to have events like Light up the Lane because we often talk about “the problems that young people have such as unemployment and underemployment education or homelessness, whereas this is a whole week focusing on the successes of young people”.

People have their artworks projected onto the lane walls. Many pieces were created by teenagers, some whose art is publicly displayed for the first time.

Light up the Lane is a popular local event, and judging by this year’s success it seems people love to get involved. Samson, a local performer, perhaps sums it up best when he says that he thought the festival is important because it brings “an extra bit of Hobartness to the community”.

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