In Residence November 16, 2023 through January 7, 2024.

Illuminate Imagination! takes you on a journey through the history of lantern making, exploring traditional lanterns and modern lantern light sculptures. Watch a lantern being created, explore the tools used to create lanterns, and discover the children’s drawings that were chosen to be turned from 2D drawings to 3D light sculptures that are part of the 2023 LuminoCity Festival at Eisenhower park through January 7, 2024.

How Children Designed the Lanterns

In April 2023, Long Island Children’s Museum and LuminoCity collaborated for Lumi’s Utopia: A Light Art Collaboration. Children visiting LICM were introduced to the history and process of lantern making and were able to create their own unique, mash-up creature drawings. There were 150 drawings created, and seven of these drawings were chosen by LuminoCity! An additional online contest yielded even more drawings, and in total a dozen children's drawings were selected and turned into lanterns.

What You'll See

View all 12 lanterns designed by children in our Outer Lobby exhibit, and see some lanterns up close both inside and out.

A child's drawing of an "Angler Fish 2.0" and an image of it turned into a lantern.

Angler Fish 2.0 is one of the lanterns designed by LICM visitor Ellie Yu han Zheng, Age 10.

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The Majestic Crab lantern was designed by Sebastian, Age 7. Sebastian writes, "He is Crab king of the ocean. He likes to sing. And show off his colors as the sunlight hits him. He likes to help his friends and make them happy."

The Lantern Making Process

A model of a lantern shaped like candy in a wrapper with the top exposed to see the lighting inside. Above in a plexiglass case is fabric, scissors and a paintbrush.

Contemporary lantern making uses traditional techniques with a modern twist. The process can be broken down into three categories: conceptual design, fabrication and onsite installation. View inside a LuminoCity lantern.

Conceptual design: Artists will create a sketch and then a lantern engineer will create a drawing outlining how to build the lantern. A smaller model might be made. 

Fabrication: Lantern artisans will build steel frames and install lights into these frames. Then they will attach the satin fabric and airbrush and hand paint the lanterns, which will be shipped off to the festival site. 

Onsite Installation: Engineers will anchor the lanterns to their spots for the festival and add any finishing touches needed. The power to light up the lanterns will be connected and tested.  

Discount for the Light Festival

LuminoCity had their first festival in 2019 and their first festival in Eisenhower Park in 2022. Now back in 2023, LuminoCity creates a new experience for attendees and incorporates this artwork created by LICM visitors through their collaboration with LICM!  Our LICM friends are invited to use promo code LICM15 to unlock a special rate for the LuminoCity Festival -  receive a 15% discount on admission prices!