Lighting Festival Brightens Up Late Summer Nights

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Renewing Our Past, Lighting Our Future. Columbia Springs’ Repair Clark County brings “functional art” to Vancouver streets in mid-August with ReLit.

The upcycled lighting festival, ReLit, will showcase the connection between environmental education and the footprint of the everyday “stuff” we all have. Giving extended life to unrepairable items is full circle stewardship and preserves the natural resources used to create them.

The Repair Clark County program fixes lots of broken items-over 700 items in 2021 alone. Unfortunately, there are certain items that are just beyond repair for various reasons. Maybe parts are no longer available or it would be dangerous to keep using them.

So, what happens to items that can’t or shouldn’t be repaired? “It’s such a shame to me when something can’t be fixed.” says Program Coordinator, Terra Heilman. “In those cases, the best you can usually hope for is that some of the materials can be recycled. Sometimes these vintage items have such cool lines and chrome details. I can’t bear to see them go to a landfill or even just be recycled.”

Upcycling (a form of recycling that upgrades and extends the use of the item) has always been a passion for Heilman, but after providing a series of lamp repair workshops at Columbia Springs, she became more focused on upcycled lamps. “I began to ask myself, ‘What if we could turn some of these other broken items into lighting?” and the ReLit concept was born.

The fixers in the Repair Clark County program have been busy creatively giving these items new life. “It’s pretty surprising what you can make into a lamp.” says Kylie Sahota, Community Engagement Specialist for Columbia Springs. “We have blenders, percolators, juicers…all turned into art!”

The ReLit event will consist of a three-week showcase of the “functional art.” A self-paced walking tour makes it easy to go on a hunt for these whimsical art pieces and is a great family-friendly or date night activity. “I’m so excited to be announcing that we are introducing a summer upcycled lighting festival this year,” says Heilman. “We have some fantastic, whimsical, and creative lamps for you to check out and bid on if you fall in love.”

Beginning August 19th, the lamps will be displayed in downtown Vancouver business windows for two weeks and then for the final week of the festival, in the windows of the buildings at Columbia Springs. ReLit is also a fundraiser for the nonprofit and a silent auction will be open during the duration of the festival. Winning bids will allow community members to bring home a one-of-a-kind, locally handmade lamp while supporting the nonprofit, Columbia Springs.

How to get involved:

ReLit Festival and silent auction August 19 through September 10, 2021.

Self-paced walking tours can be found by downloading Geocaching Adventure Labs app and searching for “ReLit walking tour” or visit to view and download a walking tour map.

Lamps will be showcased in downtown Vancouver shop windows August 19-September 1, and in Columbia Springs’ building windows September 2-September 10, 2021.

The silent auction closes at 5:00 PM on September 10, 2021.

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