By Caitlin Rossi
On March 28, Baltimore City launched Light City, the first large-scale festival of lights, ideas, and innovation in the United States. As the exclusive health care sponsor, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States (KPMAS) had a huge presence at the week-long festival.
Modeled after Australia’s Vivid Sydney festival, Light City Baltimore was designed to shed a light on Baltimore’s abundance of creative, cutting-edge and multi-disciplinary talent.
Almost 500,000 people visited Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and its surrounding neighborhoods, to experience 29 original light exhibits – three of which Kaiser Permanente sponsored – more than 50 concerts, and 100 performances of dance, theater, and puppetry.
The festival kicked off with a parade, and with more than 100 volunteers, Kaiser Permanente made a huge impact. Our very own Doc Broc led the way in his green PediCab as KPMAS volunteers rode illuminated bikes, handed out giveaways and showed off their Kaiser Permanente pride!
Volunteers also had a chance to visit our newest facility, the Baltimore Harbor Medical Center, which was illuminated in red, white and green to show support for the Little Italy neighborhood.
On March 30 and 31, KPMAS presented the Health Innovation Conference at Light City U, a core component of the larger festival that included a series of innovation conferences dedicated to powering social change.
With more than 200 people in attendance, Kim Horn, president of KPMAS, opened the two-day conference with a moving video bringing to life the struggles and inequalities that residents of Baltimore face.
Horn also posed a question to the conference attendees, “What’s your vision for a healthier future for Baltimore, and for the
world?” There was a resounding response from the conference and also from individuals and organizations following the Light City Baltimore festival on Twitter.
More than 90 individuals responded to Horn’s question, submitting around 150 ideas, and a live artist captured the responses and translated them into art on our #MyHealthyIdea Wall. The #MyHealthIdea Wall truly came to life throughout the conference – even the U.S. Surgeon General joined the conversation and shared his idea for a healthier future.
Check out a brief video montage of some of the #MyHealthyIdea Wall here.
Conference attendees also had the chance to experience Kaiser Permanente’s Imagining Care Anywhere exhibits — which explored how care delivery and total health might be transformed with new technologies and a focus on being more accessible and convenient for our members.
Another highlight of the week was the much anticipated Pilobolus “UP” performance. Featuring 10 performances with more than 400 festivalgoers, the UP performance engaged participants in a live performance using umbrellas fabricated with multi-colored LED lights to showcase the human body as a graphic and expressive medium. KPMAS volunteers were on hand to provide giveaways to audience members who participated.
An important component of Light City – the Teen Scholars program – extends past the festival and showcases KPMAS’ investment to help to build the next generation of leaders in Baltimore.
KPMAS helped select 12 Baltimore City high school sophomore and junior leaders to participate in a 10-month youth-achievement program. The Teen Scholars program is designed to empower these youth to become engaged leaders and help them develop a voice and vision for themselves, their communities, and their world.
The 12 Teen Scholars participated in many events throughout the festival, most notably they marched with KPMAS volunteers in the opening day parade. And, this summer, the Teen Scholars will work with KPMAS in different capacities when they are placed in a six-week paid internship with Kaiser Permanente and other companies throughout Baltimore.
KPMAS was honored to participate in the festival and contribute to the vitality and health of Baltimore City. We look forward to partnering with Baltimore City in the years to come on this innovative event.
Thank you to the many employees who volunteered their time to make this event possible. Light City Baltimore was a success because of your hard work and dedication.