Submissions for Light Nelson 2016 have now closed with almost twice as many project ideas received compared to last year !

Thank you to everybody that has put in a submission. You should by now have received confirmation of your entry (please let us know if you haven't).

The selection committee now begins the difficult but exciting task of curating the event and selecting the projects for Light Nelson 2016. If you have a project idea but you missed the deadline, feel free to submit it anyway - there may end up being an opportunity that the project is just right for or it could be something for Light Nelson 2018.

Light Nelson is a walk in the dark and a celebration of light.

The event will be primarily located in the Queen’s gardens and NMIT campus and the immediate surrounds.

Light Nelson reflects the artistic strengths and spirit of the Nelson community. It brings together technology, art, science and fantasy in the darkness of winter and installations offer a multi sensory experience celebrating light. Important elements are the use of new technology, environmental sustainability, delight, illusion, interaction and movement. The installation is not simply a lit form but must convey essential qualities of light.

In 2016 we are looking for both large and small scale installations. Successful projects shall utilise light, be achievable, fit for purpose and meet the aims of Light Nelson as outlined above.

The Light Nelson artist selection panel shall consider all submissions received. Selection will be based on design and relevance to the site. The draft budget will also be taken into consideration. Installation proposals should be durable and secure, at least for the duration of the five day event. Technical, and some financial support will be available.

We encourage installations that utilise new or alternative technologies (eg. solar power).

We encourage performance and collaborative projects; also those which involve community development and have social and/or educational outcomes.

The selected artists will be responsible for construction and installation of the artwork. We can provide advice regarding resource or building consents where appropriate. If engineering specifications are required these costs should be included in the proposed budget. Health and safety aspects should also be considered.

The selection process for projects for Light Nelson 2016 involves several steps.

1. Artist/s to complete the attached Proposal for Light Nelson 2016 Form in detail.

These will be considered by the Light Nelson artist selection panel and either gain provisional approval or be rejected.

2. Artist/s with provisional approval will then be asked to complete the Final Selection Form and to provide more detailed project information.

A decision will then be made to decide which projects will be accepted for inclusion.

3. Artist/s included in the Festival will be asked to sign a contract with Light Nelson.

Light Nelson is now calling for Proposals for Light Nelson 2016 and these may be submitted from 1st September 2015 onwards.

All applications must be in by 30th November 2015, 5pm.

Please deliver applications to: Brian Riley, Arthouse Architecture, 3 Haven Road, Nelson.

Or email application to the address below: Caroline Marshall,

Earlier this week, the Light Nelson Trust held a workshop to discuss many aspects of Light Nelson, including the format and timing of the main event next year.

At the workshop it was decided to bring the event forward to the beginning of the holidays which would make it easier for Light Nelson to partner with NMIT and include the students projects in the event. Additionally it will hopefully be easier for people to plan their holidays and perhaps stay in town for a few days before going skiing etc. and not miss out on the event.

The other major change is that the event will run for longer. The main event will now also include the Monday and Tuesday (so 5 nights in total). This will allow visitor numbers to be spread out over more days and will also give us a better buffer if we have particularly bad weather on one or two of the nights.

*** The dates for the next event are therefore 8th-12th July 2016 ***

With not much over a year to go before the event, if you've been thinking about getting involved in Light Nelson in some way now is a great time. The best way to do that is by joining the Light Nelson Collective. The Collective is the creative force behind Light Nelson and has been formed by people dedicated to sharing ideas and providing support and educational opportunities.

The collective has a Facebook group page at If you'd like to be on the collective mailing list, just send an email to

long term planThe Consultation Document for Nelson’s Long Term Plan 2015-2025 titled ”An even better place to live PLANNING NELSON’S LONG TERM FUTURE” is now open for submissions. The document outlines many aspects of how Nelson City Council proposes to manage the city for the next 10 years. Light Nelson is listed in the document (Pg 21) as a new line of expenditure for $150,000 per event for 5 biannual events.

This very significant contribution signalled by NCC, will give confidence to the Light Nelson Trust, who will need to raise a similar amount to produce the next event in 2016. Our fundraising team are working hard behind the scenes to do this and to date the response is very positive.

The budget increase is required to grow the event - spread the event over more days, over a greater area of the city. The impact of large crowds on the Queens Gardens is not sustainable. Safety, security, management, equipment hire, support of artists to produce light installations of varying scale are all required to enable the event happen on a larger scale.

Your submission matters

We need to attract submissions in support of Nelson City Council’s support of Light Nelson from a variety of angles so we can demonstrate it is valued by the community.Please do what you can to ensure this event can happen and realise its full potential, delivering multiple benefits for the city, by making a simple submission.

The document can be picked up at the Nelson City Council Service Centre in Trafalgar Street or online by going to the submission page on the NCC website. There are clear instructions on how to make a submission and a simple form to use in the last three pages of the document.

Public Consultation runs to midday Tuesday 28th of April.

Submissions can be made online or by delivering submissions to Nelson City Council by the deadline.

The party is over, the clean up is done and now it’s time to look back on a brilliant winter spectacle - what worked well, what needs to be done to cope with the numbers wanting to attend this event and how we see Light Nelson developing in the future.

To say having more than 40,000 people attend the event over two nights exceeded all expectations is an understatement. Our ‘best guess’ planning was for double last year’s attendance, which would have been 10,000 each night.

10,000 people attended on Saturday and we coped well, but 30,000 on Sunday was too much for the size of the venue. This was six times last year’s best night attendance. We apologise to anyone who felt they didn’t have a good experience at Light Nelson due to this huge surge in numbers.

As regards safety, the width of the pathways and the suggestion that foot traffic should be one way: we hadn’t planned to concentrate people on the pathways, but rather leave them free to roam as we did last year, and could have done this year with a crowd of 10,000 per night. However the pathways were roped off and turf protection laid on Saturday after the wet weather, to protect the grass, to leave Queens Gardens and Albion Square in good condition and especially to protect the public from slipping on the wet, muddy grass.

We are certainly taking on board the suggestions as to how the event can be improved, and we will be working on fast tracking our ten year plan, which was always to extend the event beyond Queen’s Gardens and its surrounds.

Imagine a future Light Nelson that incorporates the Cathedral, continues across the NMIT campus, takes you through Albion Square and into Queen’s Gardens and then onto a riverside promenade along the Maitai, into the city where Trafalgar Street would be lit up, and maybe one day down to the port and even out to Tahunanui. With the huge crowd we had over last weekend we need to now begin work towards this vision.

We are thrilled to hear of the trade that the weekend’s arts events brought to shops and cafes. By joining forces with Art Expo Nelson, the Winter Music Festival, NMIT’s Creative Industries and with the marketing support of Tourism Nelson Tasman, visitor numbers will surely continue to grow.

A bigger and more extensive Light Nelson will give us even more of an attraction to draw visitors to Nelson. More importantly it will ensure that people have a quality experience, can take their time and get a good view, or become involved with the works that represent so much effort from our artists.

The support we had over the weekend gives us a strong case to take back to our sponsors to grow Light Nelson into a major showcase for Nelson. Light Nelson positions this region exactly as we want it to be known – a place with creative people who are working at the innovative forefront of the arts.

What is more important for those of us who live here is that Light Nelson emphasises Nelson as a place with a huge sense of community, where people will give their time willingly for a special and accessible arts event that is free to everyone.

This cannot happen without huge support and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Nelson City Council, Canterbury Community Trust, Nelson Mail and all our other sponsors, my team who have worked hard all year to bring this together and the artists who gave their time and skills to create the installations.

Thanks to you, the people of Nelson, for the positive feedback that we have had, and for coming out to experience something very special that we have created here in our city.