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Light City 2017 to feature Biz Markie and Dirty Dozen Brass Band, new art installations

Light City to bring new artists and installations in its second year.

Light City will bring new lighted art installations and music performances from Biz Markie, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Papadosio when the free arts festival returns to Baltimore for its second year, organizers announced Monday. 

The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, which organizes Light City, announced details about the 2017 festival, which will run March 31 to April 8. The 1.5-mile lighted art walk along the Inner Harbor will return, along with various performances and activities. Rapper Markie, New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band, prog rock/electronic group Papadosio and Latin Rock and hip-hop-infused band Ozomatli will headline the music lineup.  

New to Light City for 2017 are nightly kickoff events (including fireworks on the final night), illuminated craft sessions for kids, and daytime education events for Baltimore City Schools students called YouthLabs.  

More than 40 of Baltimore's landmarks — including City Hall, M&T Bank Stadium, Loyola University Maryland and various city police headquarters — will also light up in celebration of the festival this year.

In terms of the art installations, "crowd favorite" works "The Peacock" by Tim Scofield, Kyle Miller, Will Cocks and Steve Dalnekoff; and "The Pool [Reflect]" by Jen Lewin will return this year, BOPA said, but 21 of 23 of the planned artist installations will be new.

At least 10 of the installations will be made by local artists. Three of the featured artists are from New York, two from Canada, two from Belgium, one from Palestine and Lebanon, two from France, one from the United Kingdom and one from the Netherlands.

At a news conference Monday announcing plans for the festival, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh challenged others to get involved.

"I need every business to figure out — downtown especially — how you light up your buildings to contribute to the growth of Light City. Do that for me please," she said.

Pugh also encouraged people to visit Neighborhood Lights, the festival's artists-in-residence program in areas outside the Inner Harbor, which will expand from five to eight city neighborhoods. Locations include Hampden, Hamilton-Lauraville, Station North, Little Italy, Waverly, Sandtown-Winchester, Greater Mondawmin and Coldstream Homestead Montebello. For more info on which artists will be featured, click here.

Light City will once again include a conference portion, this year called Labs@LightCity. Running April 3 through April 8 at the IMET Columbus Center, the conference will explore social change in different industries, including health, design, social, environment, education and food. Notable guests will include New York Times best-selling author and blogger Luvvie Ajayi, Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Siddhartha Mukherjee, and local author and columnist D. Watkins.

The free lighted arts festival debuted in Baltimore last spring, drawing some 400,000 attendees. Its return comes amid a legal dispute between BOPA and the couple who came up with the idea for Light City over who owns the name, logo and other aspects of the event. 

The city filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking sole ownership of the festival for BOPA and Baltimore Festival of the Arts, nonprofits that throw events for the city. Brooke and Justin Allen, the married couple who came up with the idea and helped plan the inaugural Light City, filed a countersuit seeking to bar the city from using trademarks associated with the festival. 

Baltimore Sun reporter Natalie Sherman contributed to this article. 

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