Firefly 2019

In August 2019 we ran an event at my Primary School called the Firefly Arts Festival.
It was a one night event where we show off artwork created by the kids as well as an art installation by each year level, most of the installations featured light.
For a quick summary of the night, watch this video!

For more details, read on…

We ran one of these events 2 years ago ago, no one was sure how it was all going to turn out but we ended up with so many people in the school that the poor P&F BBQ was slammed all night! With the one 2 years ago being such a success, we had to improve and go even better!

Firefly Team

There was 3 core team members who put together the whole event, myself doing lighting and technical details, our arts/creative person and one person whose job it was to organise everyone/everything.  We started working on this in late 2018, so it was a long time in planning!
Of course, there was also 720+ students aged 5-13 and an army of teachers, all of whom were required to make the night a big success!


Each year level put together one installation, which included (almost) every student in the school in the process.

Kinder and Year 1 – Flying Birds

Here we had a template for the kids to cut out and then thread onto a piece of garden wire. They were all suspended off fairy lights and hung across one of our gardens.

Year 2 – Fish Lanterns

This project was way bigger than we had anticipated, but so so worth the effort! I plan on writing a more in depth post on this one as the process we went through was pretty cool!

Year 3 – Pop Art Boxes

This project changed a lot throughout the planning phases, originally it was going to be a collection of Totem Poles, but time ran short so we arranged them instead as a wall, blocking off one of the areas of the school we didn’t want people going to on the night and rigging up another projector to project light patterns on the boxes.
There’s not really enough to write a whole other post about this one, but I basically took video and applied a pixellate filter on it to drop it down to a 12×12 square of colours. I wish I had more time on this one to really do some cool video effects. It turned out pretty cool though.

Year 4 – Hall of Shadows

We were inspired by some images we saw on pinterest showing off some awesome shadow art.
We ended up going with making triangular pyramids, the students could design their own pattern and cut it out of the card.
Giving students access to blades is generally a big no-no, so we settled for these Slice Branded Safety Ceramic Blades. 
The blade is tiny and it’s near impossible to cut yourself with it, but it cuts paper really well.  What it doesn’t cut very well is thick card… Which is what we were using. They turned out okay, but a bit rough around the edges.
Lighting the inside took a bit of experimentation, what you’re looking for is a really “hard” light, that is, the smallest brightest light source you can find. We settled on the Ikea LEDBERG lights, with the diffuser removed.  Also a bit of cellophane over the light to change the colours a bit. Ideally, I would’ve liked something even brighter than this.

Year 5 – Masters Mash Ups

This is a whole bunch of small canvasses that make up a copy of a famous artists painting, with each student taking one panel each.

Year 6 – Starry Night Stop Motion

This one was a mission and a half.  I’m going to do another post about it.
Along with the installations, we had a few whole school installations and smaller group installations too:

Static Art Gallery

Featuring one piece of art from every student (over 700 pieces of art, mounted onto black cloth!)

Whole School Projections

The artworks produced by the students were projected onto the walls of the buildings and the roof of one of our school blocks.
For this one, I produced a video slideshow of the students artwork, we hired some beefy projectors (4000-8000 lumens depending on the distance) and got them installed for the night, projecting off rooftops or out of windows.

Walking Canvasses

Kids painted and dressed up as a famous painting, with the artist following alongside to talk about their painting.
The kids doing this were legends and it turned out exceptionally well!

Choir and Band Performances

We had the choir and the band performing on the night as well, sadly our hall isn’t that big so many people missed out on seeing the performances.

Dance Troupe

We had a group of dancers do a performance with tutu’s we created using EL Wire. It’s reasonably cheap and glows and looks so cool!
If you’re inspired to do something similar in your school and use one of our ideas, please leave a comment and show us what you’ve built!

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