A performance from last year's fire night at the MAH's GLOW festival. Courtesy of the MAH.
A performance from last year’s fire night at the MAH’s GLOW festival. Courtesy of the MAH.

An ear-splitting pipe organ shoots bursts of flames from its pipes. Lucy Hosking’s fire-breathing pipe organ, titled “Satan’s Calliope,” sits atop of a Harley Davidson golf cart that acts as a parade float, transporting the gigantic flame-throwing sound machine.

“GLOW” — a two-night festival on Oct. 17 and 18 — will showcase fire-pieces and digital artists at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH). The festival will feature live performances by DJs and fire dancers and will include fire installations, aerial acts, LED screens and projections that celebrate all things luminescent.

At tonight’s edition of GLOW, audiences can partake in the artwork and performances. GLOW presents the freedom for a spectator to become an art explorer.

“We want this to be very participatory, where everyone who attends has a chance to put their hands on the art and interact with the art,” said MAH artist-in-partnership and UC Santa Cruz alumnus Drew Detweiler.

“If you’re lucky, you may even get the chance to pull the trigger on a flame thrower,” Detweiler said.

MAH marketing and engagement coordinator Elise Granata is most excited for Hosking’s piece because it’s a rare work of art that many other museums would not be willing or able to house.

“[Artists] don’t really have another space to showcase their work besides Burning Man. GLOW lets them do that,” Granata said.

The artists’ preparation and knowledge of fire safety made the event possible, said MAH artist-in-partnership Steve Cooper.

Most of the artists at GLOW only perform or showcase their work at Burning Man, a creative festival in Nevada thriving off of artistic freedom and outsider art. The event includes LED lights and fire installation pieces, up to 72-feet tall.

The artists involved in GLOW have a special connection to Santa Cruz and to each other,  Cooper said.

“Everybody who does the fire are folks who camped together at Burning Man,” Cooper said. “Every single artist who is performing the fire are all friends in the real world. When we’re not performing we hang out together and go to parties together, so it’s like a family.”