Luminaria 2012: Arts Come To Light (Or, Why I’m Proud To Be A Racker)

This is the second year that Rackspace is the title sponsor of Luminaria, the famed nighttime festival that celebrates San Antonio’s local artists. Last year we wanted to show the world what makes Rackspace special (Rackers, of course), so we did the Racker flash mob. It was super fun and a complete delighter for folks who attended the opening ceremonies, but it also left us wondering how we’d raise the bar in 2012. We decided on two things that would a) represent Rackspace and b) add uniquely-Rackspace value. We decided on a Racker-created art installation and a smartphone-accessed interactive guide.

The art installation is a striking physical interpretation of Rackspace, and captures the fact that there are two sides to Rackspace:  1) Rackers are a diverse, creative group who 2) work in a very serious company on the leading edge of hosting and cloud computing. The Rackspace headquarters in San Antonio is located in the old Windsor Park mall which we call The Castle. The installation also uses giant spires to represent an abstract crystalline castle, each of which has two faces on each side. Disparate images are projected on the two sides to show the dichotomy of the Rack, and create visual tension within the piece and two visual experiences, depending on the location of the viewer. The sculpture was created by Rackspace Director of Events and Media Michael Dietrich.

The second way we’re adding uniquely-Rackspace value is in the creation of the interactive guide ( Tracy Loring, the Racker who serves on the Luminaria steering committee, recognized this opportunity early on, sent a few emails to some Rackers who could donate their time and talent, and the rest, as they say, is history. Roughly 20 Rackers mobilized to bring this interactive guide to life, creating QR codes that point to information about each artist, schedules and maps – essentially up-leveling the entire experience for both the 300,000-plus people who attend Luminaria and the artists themselves. With this interactive guide, users can more carefully tailor their experience at Luminaria, and they’re now able to access these artists well beyond the one-night event itself. Special thanks to Kevin Bittner and all the Rackers who worked on this project.

Luminaria is a great event for Rackspace to be involved with for several reasons. We’re helping drive the progress and direction of San Antonio as it continues to reinvent itself. San Antonio is working hard to create the next evolution of its ‘city experience’ and Luminaria is part of that effort. I’m so incredibly proud that Rackers have volunteered their time and talent to contribute to this event – especially when our time and talent is the most valuable thing we have. There was no obligation, no requirement to get involved – these Rackers just saw an opportunity to help and jumped in. And the ones who weren’t directly involved with the art installation or the interactive guide? They show up, they represent. They wear their Rackspace shirts to show that they’re proud too. Rackers are a tribe that I’m honored to be part of. Luminaria will come and go this year, but Rackers are what make this experience truly special.

Can’t make it to Luminaria: Arts Come to Light? Stream it live on NowCastSA.

Cara serves as Community Affairs Director for Rackspace Hosting and President of the Rackspace Foundation. She oversees Rackspace’s charitable giving and corps of volunteers, as well as manages the company’s non-profit and city relationships.


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