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Santa Monica's Cultural Future to Glow

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It's the first event of its sort in the country, Santa Monica officials say about this weekend's all-night festival, Glow. For two years, the city's Cultural Affairs Division has been working towards this Saturday night, where an expected 25,000 to 50,000 people are to attend the from dusk to dawn beachside event featuring lots of art and music.

"Visitors will have to be strategic on how they spend their time," explained Jessica Cusick, the division's manager. "If you want to experience everything that night, you have to stay up all night. Some things will only happen once."

Over 30 artists have been commissioned to do art that will allow attendees to participate. From Machine Project's orchestra playing from the new Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica pier to Shih Chieh Huang's "Neptunian lair" beneath the pier, there will be magical moments to be shared by all. "Every project will be participatory in different ways and at different levels," Cusick described.

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Glow, which will be Santa Monica's biennial, was born out of the city's long range cultural plan called Creative Capital (.pdf). The plan identified arts as important to self identity as the economy. Three key areas were to be focused on by the city: supporting innovation, enhancing participation and building sustainable infrastructure. Glow fits into each of them.

The concept behind the festival comes from European Nuit Blanche festivals. The phrase translates to "white night," which is slang for staying up all night. The name Glow is based on grunions that wash up on the beach, tying the event to physically to California.

With so many people expected to attend, travel to the area, even late at night will be harder than usual. For those who bike, bike valet will be provided. After parking lots are full near the pier, shuttle service will be offered to various locations in the area.