The Sycamore Depot Light Show is back, featuring the artwork of NIU School of Art and Design students. Starting at dusk (approximately 8:45 p.m.) Saturday, May 19 the outer walls of the historic Sycamore Train Depot will be lit with artwork depicting the 25 year history of the DeKalb County Community Foundation and original artwork created by NIU Time Arts students.
The inaugural light show was held in 2016, and this year’s includes an additional show inside the Depot in The Freight Room, starting at 7 p.m. and running on a loop until the outdoor show begins. The indoor show is called “DeKalb County By Drone” which “flys” viewers through every corner of the county capturing its beauty and featuring famous landmarks.
NIU School of Art and Design senior students Kate Keeling and Alec Bourke have been working on the light show since late last year as interns with the DeKalb County Community Foundation. They have been meeting regularly with representatives from the DCCF to work out the concept and design. Keeling and Bourke have been creating art and animations to depict the work of the DCCF and have been creating original artwork as well. Students in the NIU Time Arts course Introduction to Video Art have also created pieces for the show.
Bourke said the work he and Keeling have been doing is to interlace two “halves” of the show together.
“The other year that this was done it was mostly abstract art,” Bourke said. “Our job is to have that, but to try to tie it back to DCCF and what they’re doing and tell their story, but still make it entertaining.”
Keeling said, “It’s a celebration of the community and everything they’ve done. It’s a party, so we’re making the show fun for everyone. The building is the old train depot, and so we use that as a metaphor, with the trains being what connects the community together.”
The light show will run 30 to 40 minutes, and features some original music written by Bart Woodstrup, Associate Professor of Time Arts at NIU. Woodstrup conceived of the Depot Light Show and secured a grant to make it possible two years ago. This year he used funding to acquire the drone for the Time Arts program used to shoot the aerial footage for the indoor show.
“Getting the drone was key,” Woodstrup said. “It’s something the program needs, It’s become an expected skill for our students to have.”
The drone arrived in September and after getting some training from the NIU Drone Team and NIU Multimedia and Video Producer Danielle Guerra, Woodstrup set out to get footage from all over DeKalb County including iconic things like the Sycamore Pumpkin Parade and the Jonamac Orchard Corn Maze.
All attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. Parking is available on the side streets and downtown areas. Free regular popcorn and snow cones provided by The Gracie Center PopUp Shop, a vocational skill development program for adults with developmental disabilities.
The Sycamore Depot Light Show will be held Saturday, May 19 at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue in Sycamore. “DeKalb County By Drone” begins at 7 p.m. in The Freight Room and will repeat until the outdoor show begins at dusk (approximately 8:45 p.m.)