BOREALIS is a free light art & projection mapping festival based in Seattle’s technologically booming South Lake Union neighborhood. The festival features a unique combination of awe-inspiring light-based installations, multi-dimensional performances, and multi-media video mapping, designed to transform surrounding built environments and engage the community. Every October, landmark buildings and facades become an urban canvas for unconventional storytelling by artists locally and from around the globe. During its premiere in 2018, Borealis brought together over 120K+ people from surrounding communities of Seattle, nearby states, and internationally.

Borealis consists of two curated parts: USA’s largest competition of video mapped projections* featured on the facade of the Museum of History and Industry, and a series of light-based installations showcased throughout the South Lake Union neighborhood. Light installations will be artfully placed in plazas, parks, nooks, near the piers, and on the waters surrounding the area.  

*The international showcase of video mapping on the MOHAI facade will be curated by Maxin10sity of Budapest, Hungary. There is a separate call for this which will soon open on the Borealis website. 

See last year’s re-cap video here:

2019 Borealis Curatorial Theme: Untethered

To tether something is to tie it down - to a structure, to a set of rules, to a philosophy or belief. In our contemporary society, we are constantly bombarded with systems to abide by, both physical and digital. What would it mean to break these bonds? How would creating an artistic experience at the intersection of technology, light, community, and interactivity provide a breakaway moment from the confines of our everyday rhythms?

For this call, we are looking for installations that use light as a main experiential feature. Artworks using technology in cutting edge ways to inspire, intrigue, and invite social engagement are encouraged to apply. These can be work previously developed, in development, or brand new ideas. Curatorial visit will occur in September to check on progress of artworks. Installations should be bright enough and large enough for clear crowd viewings, or placed strategically on site to invite interactivity. 

Julia Bruk, Curator



May 1st: RFP Call to Artists POSTED

May 16th: Join us on the steps of MOHAI at 8pm for a walk through of potential sites. Get acquainted with the potential walking route and discuss sites. RSVP by emailing

May 26th: Proposals Due by 11:59pm

We will be responding to all proposals by mid-June.


Early September: Studio visits with curator

October 6th: Complex installations begin

October 8th: Sponsor and Media Preview Night

October 9-13th: 7-11pm Festival

October 13th: 10:00pm tear down


• OUTDOOR FESTIVAL This is an outdoor festival, so installations need to be adaptable to changing weather conditions. There are very limited sites with protection. Please note your needs for weather proofing.

• TEMPORARY ARTWORK All art installations are temporary and the sites used need to be returned to their original states. Leave them as you found them. No pins in concrete or poured footings, no perforations or staking on park grounds.

• WALKING TOUR There will be a designated route along which walking tours will be hosted. They are currently in the development stages and will depend on the types of proposals we receive.

• INSTALLATION TIMING Installations will be expected to run the festival hours of 6-10pm on the evenings of October 9-13th. 

Set up will be October 6-7th depending on complexity of installation.  

Tear down will be immediately following the festival on October 13th to clear grounds for Monday morning business hours.

ELECTRICAL A standard 120-volt circuit, 15-amp electrical outlet will be provided for at each site. Some sites have opportunities to plug in at adjacent buildings. No generators were used in 2018 – we intend to continue leading Borealis as a “green” festival.


INSTALLATION NEEDS Under some circumstances we may be able to provide lightweight equipment to help facilitate installation. Please describe your needs (i.e. 10’ ladder, lift to reach 15’, etc.)

• TECHNICAL SUPPORT Lighting experts are available for limited consultation with accepted art installation artists.

SECURITY The festival will provide walking security for some installation clusters dependent on the site location. Please note your security needs in the Application Form. We encourage artists to be on site to host visitors and encourage engagement with their artworks.

• FUNDING We will be providing a modest honorarium of $500 for all exhibiting artists that are accepted by this call. Funding for projects is limited, but will be considered on a case by case basis, up to $5,000. Please note in your budget what your requirements are to complete the project successfully.

STAY UP TO DATE Check out our website and join our mailing list to receive updates and notices about this call and other info. 

Borealis Festival of Light