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Giving BLINK a Round of Applause

Artists from around the world and across this region brought Cincinnati and Covington alive during the third-ever BLINK, drawing an estimated 2 million attendees over four nights in October.

by John Fox


BLINK returned for its third iteration over four gorgeous fall evenings October 13-16, 2022, bringing huge crowds back to view light projection installations, light sculptures, performances, and murals over a 30-block area. The five event zones, from north to south, were Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, Downtown, The Banks, and Covington.

Artists from around the world and across the Cincinnati region were recruited to bring murals, buildings, and public spaces alive. Some of the favorites included a 3-D artwork by Athens, Greece-based muralist Insane 51 and projection mapping of Covington’s Mother of God Church (right) and Memorial Hall in OTR by Palermo, Italy-based Antaless Visual Design.

At least 2 million people attended BLINK in October, breaking previous records set in the first two events in 2017 and 2019. “Yet again, our community has come together to celebrate and support each other,” Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said in announcing the attendance numbers. “The excitement and energy BLINK has created is an experience you won’t find anywhere else.” Covington Mayor Joe Meyer agreed, adding, “Visitors from all over the country were here expressing amazement at the creativity, the interesting and historical spaces, and the community they experienced.”

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, which produces BLINK, surveyed 2022 attendees and found that 53 percent were from Hamilton County, 19 percent were from Northern Kentucky, and 28 percent were from outside of the area. Survey responses represented 319 different Zip codes. BLINK attendees spent an average of 1.8 days at the October event. The average visitor spent $104 on food and drinks while at BLINK. Seventy percent of survey respondents said they were “more likely than not” to recommend BLINK to their friends and family, while 10 percent were neutral. A total of 31 percent gave BLINK a grade of 10 out of 10, which was the most common response.

According to the survey, 47.1 percent of BLINK attendees were between the ages of 25 and 44. Another 36.5 percent were between 45 and 64, and 10.5 percent were between 65 and 84. The survey did not ask for children’s ages.

One of BLINK’s defining attributes was the presence of hidden surprises lurking throughout the event footprint, from “Tunnel” (left) along a side street to the “Still Shines Through” mural in a courtyard between buildings. These works were created by Alberta, Canada-based Big Art and Chicago-based Max Sansing.

Weekend highlights included an audio/visual presentation at the Ezzard Charles mural, “I Am Ezz,” and large-scale projection mapping of the American Building on Central Parkway. “I Am Ezz” was a collaboration among local artists Jason Snell, who designed the original ArtWorks mural; storyteller Jim Cunningham; and emcee/musician Jarmell Carson (aka Citoak). “To the Moon” brought motion designer Sean Van Praag back to town for his third BLINK.

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