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Illuminate Art Walk 2023

December 1st, 2023 - January 5th, 2024

Free to the public and self-guided

Shining nightly beginning at 4:45pm.

Downtown Raleigh comes to light every holiday season with Illuminate Art Walk. Since the winter of 2020, Downtown Raleigh Alliance has brought energy to our Main Street–and beyond–with large-scale, interactive, and light-based art pieces.

In addition to the signature piece, Talking Heads, this year’s show features local North Carolina light artists. Many of the pieces are stunning tributes to the wildlife of our state and others are celebration of our innovative past, present, and future as a community.

We encourage everyone to take photos with the installations so tag us for a chance to be featured!

Sip N’ Stroll your way through Illuminate Art Walk - find participating bars & restaurants.


Sponsored By
In Partnership With




Talking Heads

420 Fayetteville St
Raleigh City Plaza

Talking Heads

As human beings, we are capable of numerous facial expressions through the use of several dozens of muscles. It enables us to show all kinds of emotions. When you look sad, I’m inclined to comfort you. When I laugh, I invite you to join me in laughing.

These two spectacular heads also show countless emotions and react to each other. Unlike people, these Talking Heads don’t do it by means of muscles, but through all the possibilities of light. Per head, some 4,000 individually controllable LEDs provide different facial expressions in various colours. As they are connected by Wi-Fi, they react to each other, but also to the interference of visitors. They conduct conversations by means of light.

Created by Limelight: @limelight3dmapping | Distributed by Wireframe: @wireframepublicart.


Katie Stewart:
Carolina Cacophony

555 Fayetteville St

"Carolina Cacophony" is an interactive homage to Raleigh's summer symphony, featuring a giant Dog-Day Cicada during its transformative molting. This piece celebrates the iconic insect native to North Carolina, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a light-infused experience that embodies the region's vibrant wildlife and nostalgic soundtrack of summer evenings.

Follow Katie Stewart on Instagram @k80stew


Nate Sheaffer:
All We Need

301 Fayetteville St
PNC Plaza Lobby

All We Need represents an overarching desire for humanity to limit mental and emotional real estate to hope and love. There should be NO VACANCY for hatred.

Nate is the father of Glas. His 30+ years as a neon artist has made him dedicated to bolstering the appreciation, knowledge, and manufacturing of American Neon.

“...the goal is to draw awareness to ways we all can be more thoughtful in multi-purpose usefulness of the planet’s natural resources” – Nate Sheaffer

Check out more of Nate Sheaffer's work at @bigsexyneon on Instagram


Jackie Sanders:
Products of the Process Microgallery

17 E Martin St
Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

As Raleigh's smallest art gallery, the Products of the Process Microgallery showases elements of the creative process that are often not seen in a gallery or museum. Creative conversations around the monthly exhibitions are documented on Instagram.

Follow Jackie Sanders on Instagram at @jsandersstudio


Robin Vuchnich:

227 Fayetteville St
Poyner YMCA

This audio-reactive light art by artist Robin Vuchnich leverages noise from spectators and the surrounding environment to animate colorful waveforms.

Follow Robin Vuchnich on Instagram at @xo_immersive


Oliver Lewis:
Night Lights

1 Exchange Plaza
Exchange Plaza

This captivating light-based mural concept forms intricate shadows onto the ground, transforming the urban landscape into a mesmerizing tapestry of dancing silhouettes, creating a dynamic and transient art experience for all who pass by.

Follow Oliver Lewis on Instagram at @the_robot_artist


Katherine Ryan:
Firefly Footpath

131 Fayetteville St

North Carolina is home to the rare Blue Ghost Firefly (Phausis reticulata) found in our mountains, and exclusive to only a handful of locations in the country. This installation brings the wonder of these specially colored fireflies to the Raleigh Area in a festive light display.

Follow Katherine Ryan on Instagram at


Mara Carvalho Johnson:
Christmas Magic

131 S Wilmington St
Joy Worthy Co.

Step into the enchantment of the season with this Christmas-themed string art masterpiece. Delicately crafted with yarn, artificial flowers and LED fairy lights to add a touch of magic.

Follow Mara Carvalho Johnson on Instagram at @maraart2022


Esse Quam Videri

23 W Hargett St
Black Friday Market

Neon sign displaying North Carolina's state motto. Translated from Latin, Esse Quam Videri means “To be
rather than to seem." Provided by Artsplosure.


Nate Sheaffer:
Zorah’s Dressing Room Chandeliers

206 Fayetteville St

Check out more of Nate Sheaffer's work at @bigsexyneon on Instagram


Jason Blyskal:
As Above, So Below

228 Fayetteville St

Born too early to explore the stars, too late to explore the earth, but just in time to watch them both from the comfort of our homes. Cheers to TV for showing us all the wonders this universe has to offer.

Follow Jason Blyskal on Instagram at @night.owl.creations


Nate Sheaffer:
Zorah’s Dressing Room Chandeliers

12 W Martin St
The Self Care Marketplace

Check out more of Nate Sheaffer's work at @bigsexyneon on Instagram


Thomas Sayre:
Shimmer Wall

516 S McDowell St

Shimmer Wall

Raleigh's famous LED mural Shimmer Wall as been upgraded with new, more advanced lights that allow for easily changeable, colorful displays.

Follow Thomas Sayre on Instagram at @thomassayreartist


Mosca Design:
Tinsel: A Walk Through Ornament

2 E South St
Martin Marietta Center for the Performin

Tinsel: A Walk Through Ornament

This sparkly adornment to the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts is comprised of 2,460 lights and stands 16 feet tall. 


Brian Brush:

2 E South St
Martin Marietta Center for the Performin


SONARC is made of 1,000 plexiglass tubes and 600 LED lights hung in a semicircle frame meant to represent open arms welcoming guests to the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts.

Follow Brian Brush on Instagram at @brian.brush


Nate Sheaffer:
Disco Alley

510 Glenwood Ave

Disco Alley

Disco Alley is a permanent installation of hand-blown, glass neon lights that move and change color.


Britt Flood:
Meet Me By The Mistletoe

612 Glenwood Ave

An abstract, figurative ode encouraging folks to engage in acts of affection, love, and embrace during this holiday season.

Britt is a painter based in NC working to bring moments of tenderness into the public realm and to cast a spell of connection, lovesickness, and awe within the viewer through large scale painting and mark making. Her paintings aim to visualize heightened moments of realization and the ephemeral, and her works of public art aim to give inactivated spaces visual poetry; fostering moments of deep connection and sense of place in our communities.

Follow Britt Flood on Instagram at @b.l.flood