The Georgetown waterfront will host a weeklong festival starting Friday in celebration of D.C.’s inaugural Fete des Lumieres, or Festival of Lights.

The event, brought to the United States by Alliance Francaise and the Georgetown Business Improvement District, is running through Dec. 20 and is based on the annual Festival of Lights in Lyon, France.

Art installations will be displayed primarily on Thomas Jefferson Street, at the Washington Harbour and at Grace Church at 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

Sylvain Cornevaux, director of cultural programming at Alliance Francaise, said that the festival is intended to promote French culture and modernity in the U.S.

“The idea was to bring this French tradition and the tradition of innovation … to Washington on a smaller scale,” he said. “We are bringing a great tradition from France to the U.S., and we are very proud of it.”

Georgetown BID Communications Manager Sherie Winston said the event is intended to bring more public art to the Georgetown neighborhood and to benefit local businesses, 19 of which will participate in the festival.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to partner with the Alliance Francaise … we were able to bring this festival to the U.S. and to Georgetown, and it seemed like a natural fit,” she said. “Lyon is a historic city, and Georgetown is a historic neighborhood, and we’re able to use that historic streetscape to display these works. This is a wonderful combination of celebrating the holidays, using that historic streetscape and displaying these works of art.”
According to Cornevaux, one of the most intriguing aspects of the festival for students and Georgetown residents alike is the ability to interact with not only the art but the artists as well.

“They can discover Georgetown in a cool way, it’s free, there is no limitation of age and I think it’s cool that you can interact with the artists,” Cornevaux said.

While Georgetown University is not involved in the planning of the event, Georgetown French professor Pierre Taminiaux, the French Department and Alliance Francaise interact frequently.

“My own students have regularly attended [Alliance Francaise events] … which has allowed them to enjoy the setting of the Alliance and learn more about its numerous activities,” Taminiaux wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Notable installations include a collection of interactive video projections entitled “Larsen 3G,” created by artistic duo Theoriz Crew, as well as “Zodiac,” a display of constellations inspired by satellite imagery and created by Chloe Yaiche. Art Soiree Productions, along with local artists and merchants, will host different events and parties throughout the week.

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