RSWLiving - - EXPLORER -

It started as a way to bring at­ten­tion to the area and 12 years later has be­come a lead­ing in­ter­na­tional art ex­pe­ri­ence: the Alys Beach Dig­i­tal Graf­fiti Fes­ti­val. It’s where pro­jec­tion art meets ar­chi­tec­ture. With its stark white build­ings act­ing as a can­vas, the en­tire town lights up in a kalei­do­scope of pro­jec­tion art for one week­end ev­ery May.

The first fes­ti­val was Au­gust 2008, the same week­end Hur­ri­cane Gus­tav blew through, knock­ing out two-thirds of the pro­jec­tors.

Lu­cia Fish­burne, a for­mer Sani­bel res­i­dent and for­mer Florida Film Com­mis­sioner, has been a fes­ti­val judge since the be­gin­ning. “It was a nov­elty at first— not ev­ery­one was ed­u­cated on dig­i­tal art—but it’s very dif­fer­ent now, and the en­tries have be­come very com­pet­i­tive. There’s noth­ing like this,” she says.

Since those early days, more con­struc­tion means less wide-open space. “Now the pro­jec­tions run on doors, win­dows and trees,” says fes­ti­val cu­ra­tor Brett Phares. “Some art re­ally re­sponds to it. It fools your eyes.”

Those who at­tend the three-day sold-out event me­an­der the streets of Alys, moved and mes­mer­ized by the ur­ban pro­jec­tions, some of which are in­ter­ac­tive. Gourmet food, wine and spir­its are also found along the route that ends in a rous­ing party at Cal­iza. In Fish­burne’s words, it’s an event with “a mag­i­cal qual­ity.” The 2020 Dig­i­tal Graf­fiti Fes­ti­val is sched­uled for May 15-16.

Homes be­come the can­vas for pro­jec­tion art, also known as Pho­ton Bomb­ing or Ur­ban Pro­jec­tion.

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