Light Yards at The Yards Park

Where: 355 Water St SE, Washington, DC
When: February 27-28 and March 5-6

Hi friends! Winter is so close to being over- we’ve got less than a month until we are at least, according to the calendar, if not strictly the weather, in the realm of spring. Daylight Saving Spring Forward is coming and basically, it’s only up from here. We’re in spitting distance of warm weather, evening light, and the opportunity to GET BACK OUTSIDE and break free of this mole-like existence we’ve been living the last little while.

This weekend we headed down to The Yards Park in southwest DC to take a peek at the current Light Yards pop-up art installation. Light Yards is a temporary display of light-up installations that will be at The Yards Park for just two weeks this month. Already up are Point Cloud and Cube, which are constructions made up of white illuminated cubes, but last night was the first night that artist Amanda Parer’s giant bunnies would be up and glowing. I offhandedly mentioned to my kids in the morning that that night we would go see some giant bunnies and then every 3.7 minutes for the rest of the day my 2 year old told me, “I’m going to see the giant bunnies. Where are the giant bunnies? I want to see the giant bunnies.”

We arrived just after dark and came upon what is going to be the next most-Instagrammed art installation in DC now that everybody’s been to the Renwick Gallery- a field full of glowing blow-up bunnies. There were many people there with real cameras hanging around their necks and one guy even had a mini tripod set up with a camera on the ground at the entrance to the bridge so there’s definitely going to be some highly curated shots going around, but because I’m me, you’re getting iPhone snaps edited in Afterlight on my phone. Lots of “IRL Instagram” shenanigans were going on- adults climbing on a glowing cube structure trying to look playful and artsy, striking just the right post for their silhouette shot, people jumping in front of giant bunnies 10x in a row for that perfect picture. Very entertaining. Got to see exactly how the sausage is made.

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The name of this installation is Intrude and the message behind the piece is an interesting one. Amanda Parer describes rabbits as “fairytale animals from our childhood- a furry innocence frolicking through idyllic fields.” Yet they also represent ecological destruction as they are pests who wreak havoc on natural habitats and environments in Parer’s native Australia. According to Parer, their size (5×7 m) represents the scale of the mess they create and the “elephant in the room” nature of their existence.

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But awwwwww. They’re so cute!

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And only from certain angles do they look like our new bunny overlords who promise a peaceful but firm domination of our world. “The time of man has come and gone. Now comes the age of Bunny.”

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My kids loved everything about Intrudeand the Light Yards set-up as a whole. The canal and bridge are lit up and there’s an artificial waterfall with a walkway behind it so you can stand behind the water and feel like you’re in a grotto.

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Light Yards also has a giant Lite-Brite display, and live music/DJs for entertainment. Many kids had glow-in-the-dark sticks and necklaces and combined with a wide riverside walkway and a DJ, they pretty much acted like they were at MTV Spring Break circa 1997. Mine were dancing their faces off. Today’s 65 degree weather will make for a perfect trip down to check it out. If you can’t make it on a Sunday night, don’t miss it next Saturday and Sunday because after that the bunnies move on to assert their new dominion over the people of Portugal and Hong Kong.

Handy tips:

The Yards Park is accessible by Metro; the closest stop is Navy Yards. There’s limited on-site parking at The Yards Park if you’re driving. Light Yards is free, but there is food for sale and several nearby restaurants if you get hungry while you’re down there.

Bonus:

Just a mile or so away is Blind Whino’s “graffiti church” – the former Friendship Baptist Church which now serves as a space for artist workshops and exhibitions. It’s fully painted (the work of artist Hense) and pretty glorious in daylight, but its darkened facade at nighttime lends it a completely different aspect- a little more sinister and foreboding. Scoot over to 700 Delaware Ave SW and check it out while you’re nearby:

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