Morningside Lights Returns Virtually This Year

The favorite neighborhood tradition, Morningside Lights, presented by the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University, returns virtually this year with Harlem Night Song, inspired by Langston Hughes’ 1926 poem.

Ever since Morningside Lights first set off through Morningside Park nine years ago, the core mission has been to bring people together in a shared act of artistic expression. And while this year’s events are virtual, the common bond remains the same, and the results are expected to be just as awe-inspiring.

Morningside Lights Arts Initiative


Arts Initiative Morningside Lights Festival

Morningside Lights 2018

photos by Michael Seto

The Morningside Lights community will digitally contribute their assembled text, images, and voices to create a shared work of art, allowing their lanterns to illuminate Hughes’ poem and embody its spirit of togetherness in dark times.

A limited number of “create your own lantern at home” kits will be made available to the general public (reservations required – link to website below). Kits will be distributed to registrants at a socially-distanced pick-up location outside of Miller Theatre (Broadway at 116th Street) on September 17, 18, and 19. Kit recipients will be assisted in the creation of their lantern through a video tutorial with Processional Arts Workshop, and will have access to virtual workshops to build their lanterns with the rest of the community via Zoom.

Two other ways to participate:

  • Build a mini lantern (aka nano-lantern) with materials likely found in one’s home (details will be announced September 26)
  • Submit your recitation of the poem, Harlem Night Song. 

All participants are encouraged to share photo and video of their experience and progress, culminating in a video celebration on Monday, October 26 at 7pm that will feature all of the shared content in a single captivating film.

Information and kit reservations are available at

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