White Night Ballarat, on Saturday, will be David Atkins' last hurrah at the helm of a White Night event after three years and eight editions of the after-dark arts festival in Melbourne, Ballarat and other regional centres.
White Night crews have been working since Monday erecting projection towers and other infrastructure ahead of Saturday, with event director Mr Atkins expecting work to "continue all the way through until 7pm Saturday".
"The thing about this last one is how much content we have generated for Ballarat," he said.
"We have expanded the footprint to take in Civic Hall and the end of Mair and Armstrong streets. At the moment we've got more than 60 works, so it will be the biggest program we have presented in Ballarat over three years."
Last year more than 60,000 people crammed in to the Ballarat CBD to take in the projections, installations, performances, sounds and lights of White Night and Mr Atkins is confident crowds will be strong again.
"Ballarat was the inaugural regional White Night and there's a very different sense or feeling about it coming in to the town as opposed to it being a big event in Melbourne," he said.
"Melbourne has big events quite often so people become a little more blase ... but White Night has become synonymous with Ballarat with more of a sense of community and people embracing it. Melbourne is a huge city and it draws huge crowds but it's not as significant an event and its impact is not as significant as it is for somewhere like Ballarat."
The program for White Night Ballarat, which carries the theme 'spark', will transform the historic streetscape and other CBD locations with 67 different experiences. For the first time, Civic Hall will be part of White Night Ballarat with one of the event's most eye-catching spectacles taking place inside - a large scale projection of a human iris on a 50ft wide screen, reflected in four inches of water contained in a 50ft swimming pool.
One of the best known features of White Night are the projections that transform well-known buildings and this year the Art Gallery, Ballarat Mining Exchange, Old Bank of NSW, 202A Sturt St, Post Office Gallery, Ballarat Town Hall, 201 Sturt St and Craig's Royal Hotel will also take on a new look for the night.
Ballarat's two art events - White Night and the Ballarat International Foto Biennale - will come together with the Art Gallery staying open late in to the night and tickets to the BIFB's headline show Camouflage reduced to just $5 for the night.
Other highlights of White Night Ballarat include:
- Dream Engine's Heliosphere featuring an acrobat connected to a giant helium balloon which will hover above Armstrong Street.
- The Guardian - a 10m long lion-like puppet controlled by eight puppeteers from the creators of the iconic White Knight Messenger who has cast its spell on Ballarat in previous years
- Deadly Questions, which will be projected on to the Bank of NSW facade, featuring the voices of Aboriginal Victorians and showcasing the artwork of local artist and Wathaurung (Wadawarrung) elder Marlene Gilson.
- A collection of short works created by artists who are living with a disability, From Feelings, is a play on words that captures the most beautiful and intense moments. A string of imagery, with no particular beginning or end, building layers that portray a reflection of the theme.
- Stephanie Wallace and Ballarat Tech School are set to engage your senses and celebrate the creative potential the city's young female engineers with Action Reaction - an interactive Rube Goldberg machine integrating physics with technology.
- There Is Nothing You Can Do To Hurt Me, is a sculpture of a giant Sumo Wrestler, his face replaced by the emoji for anger and his body covered in hand painted tattoos depicting famous explosions from art and history. This work has only ever been shown once before and is made by a Japan based artist, Shohei Otomo, the son of Japanese author, illustrator and Anime creator Katsuhiro Otomo.
- Amigo and Amigo's Song Cloud, a huge inflatable cloud that audiences can enter to hear stories about the weather
- White Night Ballarat: Temperature could drop to as low as one degree for White Night
- White Night Ballarat 2019: program highlights as the event moves to September
- A Ballarat artist has created this stunning costume for White Night
- White Night Ballarat 2019: Iconic Mad Max Fury Road cars added to extended program
What you need to know:
There will be extensive road closures throughout the CBD from 3pm Saturday, with Camp St closed from 5pm Friday.
White Night Ballarat runs from 7pm Saturday until 2am Sunday.
Find the full program here.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.