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Thought Leadership Views From Peachtree

Owls are Wise: Midtown’s Community Lantern Parade Returns

The Parliament of Owls Lantern Parade returns to Midtown on August 14, 2021. Photo Credit: Steve Eberhardt

By Chantelle Rytter, Lantern Parade Artist and Parliament of Owls Founder

Fun is seriously important to our well-being. Coming together as a flock of owls and flying and dancing down the streets of Midtown all dressed in black and white, being weird and elegant together, is ridiculous fun. We have a common calling to delight one another, and when we answer that call it does a body good. It lifts our collective spirit and we need that now more than ever.

I am so grateful that Parliament of Owls Midtown Lantern Parade is back in Midtown for its third year with the community invited to participate. I trust in the wisdom of owls to flock smart. It is my hope that Parliament of Owls will set an example of pandemic-adaptive behaviors that will keep our fun safe. We can do this.

We are moving through a huge outdoor space together for an hour.

Soak up the fun deep into your soul so it lasts awhile. Take lots of pictures so you can reflect on how you are a part of our collective joy, that you make where we live a seriously fun place to be. Keep those good feeling where you can find them.

Parliament of Owls got off the ground when I applied for the Cousins Properties artist residency. I had been thinking about an owl themed lantern parade for a while.

Owls are wise. Owls see through the dark. Owls are omens of change. Owls do not flock, but maybe they should! I felt that owls in all black and white would be weird, elegant, and a good fit for Midtown. The residency was a free studio for two years in exchange for the gift of a significant piece of art. When applying, I was clear that Parliament of Owls Lantern Parade would be my gift, and that you could not hang it on a wall. Hats off to Cousins Properties for recognizing a lantern parade as valuable art.

I had hoped that Parliament of Owls would draw attention to the idea of commercial properties gifting artists studio spaces. When you support artists in your neighborhood, you get art in your neighborhood. Not only did Midtown Alliance step up to sponsor Parliament of Owls, they have launched Heart of the Arts Studio Residency Program where six artists have free studio space at commercial properties in Midtown! Imagine that program replicated across Atlanta.

People often ask me, why lantern parades? Seeing the people you share a city with as playful volumes of light makes for a much nicer place to live.

Parliament of Owls takes place Saturday, August 14 in Midtown Atlanta. Participants meet on the outdoor Plaza at Colony Square at 8:30pm and the parade steps off at 9:00pm. Details on the parade route and how you can participate here. We’ve asked that owls fly six feet behind the band and the owls next to you. Stay home if you are ill. Wear a mask indoors and follow the CDC guidelines.

 

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