Creative Sonoma

CALL TO ARTISTS: 2024 Napa Lighted Art Festival

Posted by City of Napa ; Posted on 
CALL TO ARTISTS: 2024 Napa Lighted Art Festival


Thank you for your interest in the 2024 Napa Lighted Art Festival. We encourage artists and designers from all disciplines to submit and be part of the festival. We strongly request you read all information closely to ensure that your proposal is complete and is eligible for jury selection.

To apply please visit the call on CaFE HERE. 

Questions please email Meredith at

Both artists and artist collaborative groups are encouraged to apply to have an installation featured at the Napa Lighted Art Festival.  For 2024, approximately 15 installations are being sought to receive a stipend between $2,000-$10,000. Artists interested in submitting a proposal should consider both the audience and the outdoor environment of the festival when proposing a project. Each artwork on the Napa Lighted Art Festival will be open and operational for all festival hours for each of the nights.

The spirit of the Napa Lighted Art Festival embodies the following core concepts:

– Innovative
– Contemporary
– Uplifting
– Inspiring
– Imaginative

The festival supports the innovative techniques using light and light technologies as a growing art medium. Light itself in any form should be the actual artwork and we require that the role of light be essential to your concept. We are not looking for artworks where light is used only to illuminate it. We also strongly encourage new technologies and innovative use of light.

As well as new ideas for artworks, we are open to receiving proposals to exhibit existing works, provided they meet the festival themes and criteria.

Artwork could include any of the following genres and/or technology: light sculptures, light art, video art, 3D video mapping projections, LED, fiber optics, custom gobo designs, interactive works, lasers etc.

Submission deadline:  August 1st, 2023

We are looking forward to receiving your submission!  Napa Lighted Art Festival is a true celebration of creative arts, technology and light and we hope you will be a part of it this year!

General Festival Information

The Napa Lighted Art Festival will be a free open-air festival with the nighttime backdrop of downtown Napa.  It is open to all members of the public and will attract admirers from near and far.

Festival Dates: January 20th- February 18th, 2024 

Festival Time: Sunday-Thursday 6:00-9:00 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Location: Various sites and buildings in the Napa Downtown Area

Accessibility:  The festival will draw audiences of all ages and abilities. Young children, and patrons with mobility and/or accessibility needs, should be considered when drafting a submission. Please also consider if any accommodations will need to be made to ensure that the submission, if realized, is fully ADA compliant.

Copyrights:  Any artist who submits a proposal will maintain their copyright and ownership of their work.   Napa Lighted Art Festival reserves the right to reproduce images of selected artists’ work for printed or internet publicity, collateral, map or marketing purposes.   The artist will grant the festival full rights to publish images of the artist and the name and content of the artworks at no cost.

The artist is responsible to clear any rights of use & permissions as necessary if they plan to include work by others in their artwork, such as music. However, Napa Lighted Art Festival prefers original work and ideas.

Future exhibits:  Napa Lighted Art Festival reserves the right to use the selected artwork (digital only) for the following year festival to re-exhibit if desired.  The artist will be informed of the selection in any future exhibits.

The Napa Community

Napa was founded in 1847. It’s a place with a colorful past – a jumping off point for 49ers bound for the gold rush, the birthplace of a famous leather industry, and neighbor to some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world.

For the past 30 to 40 years, the City of Napa has been in transition. The City that was once known for its tanneries, prune processing and State hospital is now more known for its hospitality, fine food, and luxury hotels. Napa is becoming a vibrant and modern town and the economic center of the Napa Valley.

In addition to being known as one of the Great Wine Capitals, Napa values the presence of art in public places and believes it defines a community and helps to create a distinct sense of place.  We see it making our city more vital, attractive and unique. Art in public places serves as a strong economic force, attracting businesses and encouraging cultural tourism.  Public art can also educate, inspire and spark conversation. Along with the other arts, it encourages creative thinking and innovation – skills that are paramount in addressing society’s challenges of today and tomorrow. For these reasons, public art and projects like the Napa Lighted Art Festival are an essential component of the thriving Napa community.

Napa Lighted Art Festival

The Napa Lighted Art Festival started in 2017 and the festival had the 5th exhibition in 2023.  The festival’s attendance is approximately 50,000.  In addition to the art installations, past festivals have included the iconic Napa Valley hot air balloons called “Night Bloom” that lit up the Oxbow Commons and a community driven Lantern Parade where everyone gets to make their own lighted art.  The festival has included artist meet and greet experiences, educational or historical tours, and musical performances.  The festival is free and open to the public.

The Napa Lighted Art Festival goals are:

  • Engage with residents and visitors through accessible, immersive, interactive experiences
  • Showcase the beauty and uniqueness of downtown Napa and the numerous historic buildings and civic spaces as lightscapes
  • Promote learning in the areas of the arts, science, and technology
  • Grow and develop a regional and global reputation as a must see festival located in a world-class destination
  • Drive economic growth and off-season tourism in the month of January and February
  • Develop partnerships locally, regionally and internationally to develop artistic talent and contribute to the development of these emerging art forms.

Artwork Selection Criteria

Construction: All works at Napa Lighted Art Festival are staged in the public spaces for an extended time and this requires rigid constructions. At times, the weather in Napa during the winter can vary from year to year.  Napa can be stormy, wet and cold, so the technical feasibility, rigidity and durability of your concept is of utmost importance. A construction overview of durability is required with your submission. For some structures or sculptures, it will be required to provide stamped engineering drawings.

Sound:  The use of sound is encouraged when possible with projection mapping pieces. The soundtrack should be submitted with the correlating visuals.

Lighting:  All sculptures or physical artwork must be able to be powered the entire time or provide a timer to self-turn-on every evening by 6pm.  The festival staff will not manually turn on any installation.

Period:   Digital artwork must be available and uploaded to the provide Drop Box folder by Monday December 9, 2023.  Sculptures or any physical art for the festival needs to arrive and be installed no later than January 18, 2024 (and deinstalled no later than February 23, 2024).

Visitor Experience: Please keep in mind that your work may be positioned in pedestrian zones, sidewalks, parking lots, or perhaps in a plaza or park-like setting. Visitors will be able to experience your artwork from approximately 50-100 feet for installations such as projection artwork on buildings or be able to touch it for physical artwork. They will expect to be amazed as they walk from exhibit to exhibit but also spend time at each installation.  Community members and visitors should enjoy sharing their experience with others and/or have a deeper personal understanding about the relationship between light, art and the festival’s core concepts & theme.

Location There are different types of locations along the festival art walk route. Your work will be positioned in a pedestrian zone adjacent to a private or public building, mainly along the downtown corridor.  The potential locations are included but are subject to change. The artist may suggest a location for the artwork upon submission; however, the curatorial team will make the final decision in favor of the entire visitor experience of the festival route.

Budget: In addition to the artist stipend, we will have a maximum budget for each location for the technical lighting equipment and production of the festival.  The artist shall refer to the technical specifications for each site.  The proposal will be evaluated based on the budget allocated per site and take into account the artist’s ability to produce the proposal within the scope of the budget. Submissions that are an unrealistic and/or incomplete will not go forward.  For physical or sculpture artwork, the proposal budget must install the full installation, deinstallation and insurance of the artwork including any staff assistance or equipment rental which must be provided by the artists.

Technical Limitations:  The artist will be provided with a description of the technical limitations for each site.  The festival strives to push the boundaries of technology through art.  However, the safety and well-being of the participants and property are of the highest importance.  Please note there are safety considerations as people will be moving through and around the art installation.  There may be limitations due to building code and other factors.  Therefore, based on budget and physical location, there may be limitations to achieve technical realization. In some cases, a different approach may be needed or recommended in consultation with the artist.

Curatorial Team: Curatorial team consisting of City of Napa staff and possible consultants conducting the initial review of the submissions to ensure the applications are complete as well as meet the artistic and technical requirements For installations at private property sites, the property owners often are involved in the final selection of the installations.  The curatorial team will select artworks that together form a coherent and harmonious exhibition based upon the goals and core concepts for the festival.

Selection Process:  The selection process is on-going so advance submissions are encouraged before the submission deadline.   All artworks are finalized by September 15, 2023.

Submission deadline:  August 1, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (MST)

Artist stipends:  $2,000-$10,000 (or negotiated)

Production cost:  The technical lighting expenses are considered a separate expense that the Festival will pay for in order to display the artwork.  Any costs for installing sculptures or physical artwork need to be included in the artist budget for production costs.

Submission:  All artists must provide all of the following items with their submission in order for it to be complete.

  • Artwork images (Up to 20 images / 6 videos)
  • Artist Statement
  • Artwork relation to festival core concepts
  • Image list (Title, Completion Date, Medium, Dimensions, Time Length, Description of tech specs, Short description of artwork use for festival marketing materials) Please specify if the images or video are only part of your portfolio and not a submission for the festival. 
  • Budget breakdown for artwork(s)
  • Construction overview addressing artwork durability in regards to weather or being in the public realm for 30-40 days.

Applications Review Process: All submissions will be reviewed by the curatorial team to assess compliance with the requirements, technical feasibility and overall quality of the submission.  The curatorial team will call the artist to get more information or clarification if needed.   The curatorial team will then review the artworks for the festival based on both the artistic impact of the work, the creativity of the concept, and the alignment with the festival’s core concepts and selection criteria list below.  The curatorial team will also consider whether a submission fits into the overall selection of artworks that together will create a cohesive and high-quality exhibition but also demonstrating diversity in their techniques to represent the festival theme.

Artist Contracts: The curatorial team must receive all of the necessary paperwork back from the selected artists including a signed contact and completed W-9 in a timely manner.  The artist contracts will entail many of the same details listed in the Call For Artist document.

International Artist Contracts:  All artists outside of the U.S. are required to provide a W-8BEN (or W-8BEN-E) which should include an international tax ID number provided by the IRS.  This form will be required before the artists agreement can be completed.  In addition, all artist payments are a hard copy check in US dollars.  No wire transfers or electronic payments are allowed.

Location Selection/Site Visits:  The Artist will be provided the final location for the artwork with the contract.  Site visits can be arranged if desired.

Digital Artwork Submission: The artwork electronic files for projection artwork must be uploaded to the designated Drop Box folder no later than December 9, 2023.   The festival technical team will provide more specifics about the media player and require file type after the entering to contract.

Installation: Installation of the artwork will begin between January 6 to January 16, 2024 with the final technical walk-thru by January 18, 2024.  If not present, the artists shall be available by phone if needed if any questions or concerns arise during this period.  Artists may participate and assist during the installation if available and will be arranged by the curatorial team in advance based on the production timeline.