Floating above the Public Plaza at Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts for the next three nights, visitors will see an ethereal wave of blue lights that are reminiscent of the Northern Lights or the waves of the ocean. These mystical lights are Waterlicht, a mesmerizing light installation by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde and his innovative team at Studio Roosegaarde. The fascinating show will run through Thursday, October 24th in conjunction with the University’s Year of Water program.

Waterlicht is a combination of LED lights and lenses which create an ethereal and ever changing layer of light, influenced by wind and rain. Meaning “water light,” Waterlicht has been displayed around the world in countries like Amsterdam, Canada and France. The immersive installation comes to Columbia this week as part of the Columbia School of the Arts’ Year of Water initiative. Throughout the year, the school will play a central role in convening the institutes, schools, and programs at Columbia engaged in research and action on water-related issues through art exhibits, concerts, lectures, and symposia focused on the Earth’s most precious resource in all of its social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental complexities.

Photograph by Eileen Barroso, Courtesy of Columbia University

The monumental public art event illuminates the power and poetry of water, while raising awareness about rising global sea levels. It is accompanied by a podcast that broadcasts stories about the impact and potential of water. There will also be an event at the University where artist Daan Roosegaarde will discuss Waterlicht and other visionary projects with School of the Arts Dean Carol Becker, on Wednesday, October 23. You can watch on Columbia’s Facebook page, or register for tickets to attend live.

Photograph by Eileen Barroso, Courtesy of Columbia University

Photograph by Sirin Samman, Courtesy of Columbia University

Waterlicht is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The show will run through Thursday, October 24th. Viewing hours are 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm each evening. Lines open for entry at 6:30 pm; first-come, first-served. Register here!

Next, check out 17 Off-the-Beaten Path Things to Do at Columbia University in NYC: An Untapped Cities Guide