2020 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in STEAM
Chris Luginbuhl is a local, national and international treasure. No single person has contributed more to Flagstaff’s well-earned reputation as THE WORLD’S FIRST International Dark Sky City. He is one of the best-informed persons in America (and beyond) about the effects of human-built illumination on the nocturnal ecosystem. He has spent the past three decades in Flagstaff working tirelessly as both a professional astronomer, and as an effective advocate for protection of the night through his work with community organizations, local governments, private business, academia, lighting-industry technologists and fellow activists. His influence on the Quality of Life Flagstaff’s residents enjoy can hardly be exaggerated.
One of the things that makes Chris so valuable is his combination of attunements. He can calculate stellar positions and has published a catalogue of Messier Objects – but knows and loves poetry, art, music, storytelling, performance and simple, dark-sky stargazing. These areas of understanding and appreciation help Chris have a visionary but grounded perspective about what’s really happening in the world [ science ], balanced with the varied creative expressions [ arts ] that convey the wonder and complexity of half of the human experience.
In association with the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition (of which he is a Co-Founder) Chris conceived and has anchored seven six-week “NightVisions” exhibitions at Coconino Center for the Arts, and the companion “Celebration of the Night” event-series that – in 2019 – included piano recital, dance, wildlife talks, night storytelling, literary submissions / readings, a night-hike – and an associated display of themed artworks at multiple downtown galleries. All this in addition to the juried exhibition at CCA of selected artworks [ in media including oil, watercolors, glass, fiber, photography, ceramics, video etc. ] out of more than one hundred submissions.
ALSO IN 2019 Chris spearheaded coordination of the Sixth Annual Flagstaff Star Party, which included dozens of telescopes with Guides, photography workshops, and a premiere string-quartet musical performance. More than 10,000 people have attended a Flagstaff Star Party since its initiation by Chris Luginbul in 2014, with almost 4,000 happy visitors to this free event in 2019 – including many families and international travelers.
Christian Luginbuhl has spent decades working quietly in the shadows [ of a fully-shielded fixture ] helping make Flagstaff a model for the integration of art and science, keeping Flagstaff an historic destination for astro-tourism, and helping assure that we are a living demonstration that the arts can and should inform public policy decisions. His efforts inspire and support artists in every medium. He uses his many skills and insight to bring people together in common discovery. He helps magnify Flagstaff’s historic sense of place, and the role that the arts [ aka: ‘soft-sciences’ ] have always played in our special community.