Chasing Light

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Provided by City of Manassas

Chasing Light is a new art/light/music installation that will be held during the Manassas One Love Arts Festival on April 27.  It is meant to be the kind of performance that folks participate in.

Chasing Light

Dallas artist Carmen Menza will produce the first-of-its kind 3D projected visual and music installation on the Manassas Museum lawn.  Menza hopes that visitors will connect with others and says that participatory public art affords us the experience of making something beautiful with those around us and strengthening a sense of community.  The multi-level art installation will include 3D projected visuals and Chasing Light, an original musical score created by Mark Menza, a Dallas composer and Carmen’s husband.

Chasing Light, which Mark Menza wrote specifically for the City of Manassas, is a 21st century chamber piece that employs both recorded and live players, and is juxtaposed to electronic and sampled sounds. Because a strong central element of this work is improvisation–using elements of jazz, philharmonic, soundscape, and an electronic score—it lends itself to improvisation by musicians at the event. 

Community Participation

A copy of the musical score has been released. Musicians who want to participate on the night of the performance are invited to join performers on stage. The music that community musicians perform will also trigger elements of the 3D light show and will continually transform throughout the evening. The projected visuals include abstract illuminated backgrounds and geometric objects created through camera shots and 3D software.

Mark Menza’s work may be familiar to those who have attended Manassas Ballet performances of Colin: Son, Marine, Hero. Menza created the original musical score for the ballet, which premiered in 2013 to national acclaim. 

Spoken word artists and dancers are also invited to collaborate during the continuous performance. The underlying music will serve as a soundscape for those who perform spoken word and poetry as they are invited to take the stage alongside musicians and dancers throughout the evening.

Carmen Menza has works in several prominent public spaces including The McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas and the Aurora Light and Sound Biennial in Dallas that had more than 60,000 visitors.

OneLove Manassas Festival

The second annual One Love Manassas Festival, which will be held April 27-29 is designed to give artists a platform to perform, share their art, raise awareness, and inspire hope for the love of all artistic platforms. The three-day event features a juried art show, Manassas Reads (a literary arts event), performances by local musicians, a film showcase, a marketplace, panels and workshops.  Leading up to Chasing Light, weekend participants will process to the Museum Lawn carrying light orbs in a parade of sorts called Turn on Your Light.  Each orb will represent that individual’s Celebration of Life through the arts.

The Virginia Commission for the Arts is sponsoring the Chasing Light installation. Visit or for more information or to see how you can participate in the event.  For up-to-date information about One Love Manassas, text the word OneLove (all one word) to 888-777.  You can opt out at any time.


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