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Cedarhurst Launches a New Holiday Program, The Lights



MT. VERNON, IL (July 15, 2022) – Cedarhurst announced at its popular Thursday Night Live program on Thursday that it would be adding a new program to its extensive lineup. The Lights, a magical holiday exhibition for southern Illinois, will include 10 different light features along a 3/4-mile walking loop designed to highlight the distinct architecture of each building and the best of the Cedarhurst sculpture park and campus. The program will run for seven weekends from mid-November through Dec. 31. The goal is to bring new people to Mt. Vernon, creating a tourism season during the holidays and make Cedarhurst a destination for all of southern Illinois.

The Lights program is the culmination of 18 months of planning, and a direct response to ideas generated during Cedarhurst’s last strategic planning process. “We started our strategic planning with a community survey, and got a lot of feedback about holiday programs and Christmas lights,” said Hillary Esser, Executive Director. “We had roundtabled the idea in previous years, but the community input was the motivation we needed to embark on this new program venture.”

During the 2021 holiday season, the Cedarhurst team spoke with and visited more than 10 institutions that do similar light presentations. “This type of lights program is not a new concept, and we wanted to visit other museums and organizations to see how it’s being done,” said Courtney Kabat, Director of Engagement. “This really allowed us to see the different presentations, and to bring back all of our favorite experiences to share here at Cedarhurst.”

Blachere Illumination, a global company with a physical footprint in Christopher, Illinois, is the lighting designer behind the project. “We really wanted to keep our program investments in southern Illinois - building up and connecting with this region,” Esser said. “They have helped us design some incredible light features specific to our campus, and we are so excited to see it come to fruition.”

While the unique display of holiday lights is the main attraction of The Lights, there is much more to enjoy, including community fire pits, photo opportunities, festive food and drink concessions, rental opportunities, and special programs on select weekends. All art galleries and the interactive Beck Family Center will remain open during The Lights so new visitors can see all Cedarhurst has to offer.

Tickets will go on sale to Cedarhurst members on Oct. 5 and to the general public Oct. 20. Cost is $15 for general admission, $10 for Cedarhurst members, and $5 for children.

About Cedarhurst Center for the Arts: Opening in 1973, the Mt. Vernon, IL museum and nonprofit celebrates the arts year-round with exciting visual/performing arts, galleries, outdoor sculptures, classes, music, and other special programing. It services the 40 most southern counties in Illinois through its mission to generate enthusiastic participation and support for the arts, and provide opportunities for enjoyment, increased awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the arts.

For more details contact: Hillary Esser, Executive Director, at hillary@cedarhurst.org 618-242-1236 ext. 228

Courtney Kabat, Director of Visitor Engagement, at courtney@cedarhurst.org 618-242-1236 ext. 222

Please attend the official announcement at Thursday Night Live on July 14, 2022, at 5 p.m. located at 2600 East Richview Road Mt. Vernon, IL 62864

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