Children play in front of a lighted  art installation at Aurora 2013.

Children play in front of a lighted  art installation at Aurora 2013.

Rex C. Curry/Special Contributor

The biennial Aurora festival, billed as an "expansive outdoor light-based art event," will return to the Dallas Arts District in mid-October.

For one night -- Friday, Oct. 16 -- 19 city blocks of downtown Dallas will be transformed, organizers say, "into an open-air urban playground of new media art: light, video, sound and performance."

In 2013, Aurora attracted more than 30,000 people to the Dallas Arts District, with 90 art installations, created by more than 100 local and international artists. This year's version is a new partnership of Aurora co-creators Shane Pennington and Joshua King with the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

King said the event will be "about using contemporary art to turn our everyday impression about our city on its head. The Arts District is a canvas, and we're using light and sound to transform it for a night in a way you'll never forget."

Reliant Energy is this year's presenting sponsor, and The Dallas Morning News returns as the founding media partner. While Aurora is a free event, visitors also can purchase VIP access and tickets to a late-night afterparty and dance.

"Aurora completely pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the Dallas Arts District," Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement. "It reshaped for the tens of thousands of people how art can be experienced, and demonstrated that the Dallas Arts District can be the perfect setting for events of this scope and scale."

Aurora's theme is "All Together Now," referencing the concept of synesthesia, which describes the joining together of senses. Helping King and Pennington will be guest curators from Dallas, New York and Berlin.

Girls from Hathaway Academy of Ballet perform in front of the Winspear Opera House during Aurora 2013 in the Dallas Arts District.

Girls from Hathaway Academy of Ballet perform in front of the Winspear Opera House during Aurora 2013 in the Dallas Arts District.

Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

They include Aja Martin, director of Dallas' Zhulong Gallery; Tim Goossens, director of Envoy Enterprises, curatorial adviser at the Clocktower Gallery and adjunct faculty at Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York; Carson Chan, an architecture writer, curator and editor-at-large of Berlin-based 032c magazine; and Julia Kaganskiy, director of New Inc. at the New Museum, New York.

Students from Dallas' Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts also will create a section.

Former City Councilwoman Veletta Forsythe Lill continues to serve as a chief consultant.

"When people come down to the Arts District and become a part of Aurora, it will redefine 'visual arts' in their minds," Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News, said in a statement. "The experience is stunning and provides a spectacular cross-section of art, music and light. We believe that the arts in every form are an essential part of a thriving city's culture."

Follow Michael Granberry on Twitter at @mgranberry. Visit dallasaurora.com for more details.

Photo gallery: Aurora 2013 in Dallas

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