Project Description

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Meet the Lightning Sprites –
Prepare for the Quest

As part of the Spring 2021 ARTifacts: Created at Home exhibition at Dublin Arts Council, Dublin, Ohio-based artist Matthew Mohr created a series of six, solar-powered, kinetic sculptures called Lightning Sprites. The installation was intended to acknowledge hardships, celebrate creativity and inspire the community for a new day.

The Lightning Sprites represent conjured spirits from a very real weather phenomenon, large-scale electrical discharges that can occur above thunderstorms, resulting in varied flickering visual shapes in the night sky.

Mohr addresses the human need to anthropomorphize “nearly everything” by viewing the six-inch sculptures as pre-sentient beings. The artist brought ordinary containers, jars and tubes, the objects we interact with daily without thought, to life, beckoning us to reconsider their roles and functions and how we move with them. Each sprite has character attributes and a backstory that ties its mission to a component of the collective experience and disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lightning Sprites will be hidden in wooded areas around Dublin and a quest, targeted for Fall 2021, will be launched for teams to unlock clues, find and claim the sculptures.


It takes a certain amount of pressure to get something out of Flipper sprite’s lid. How does this relate to Flipper’s representation of family? What pressures, changes, “flips,” if you will, have families faced this past year? Has your home become a classroom, an office, a workout facility and/or the social center for your family? How has technology impacted the way your family functions? How have you stayed connected with extended family and friends? What is your family most looking forward to when we get to the flip side of COVID-19?

Health and Safety

As we began a new way of life during the pandemic, health and safety were at the forefront of our news, our conversations and our social media feeds. We kept our eyes on the current “prescription” for staying home, for avoiding contamination, going to the grocery store or even getting a haircut. Almost everything has been prescribed this past year – from orders about school closures to travel and how late restaurants can stay open. The latest prescription centers around the availability and efficacy of the vaccine. If you could become Scripter sprite and write a new prescription for our continued health and safety, what would it be?

The Arts

Art and wellness are connected. In some countries, doctors prescribe arts experiences for their patients, resulting in significant positive effects on depression, anxiety, mood, trauma, coping ability and self-esteem. Dropper sprite represents the arts – and each “medicinal” drop makes a difference. How have the arts played a role in the way you’ve coped with the pandemic? What types of creative endeavors have you undertaken? How did they make you feel? How would you describe the relevancy of the arts in your personal or community’s well-being?


Cappy sprite represents community – embracing the interdependence between a screw cap and its threads. One supports the other, always moving to loosen or tighten the bonds. How is this a metaphor for community during the pandemic? How have we experienced moments of intense isolation and of inspiring togetherness? What new connections have you made or would you like to see in the community? How will this sustain a healthy interdependence into the future?


You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. It’s true – once things have squirted out, you can’t ignore them and you certainly can’t put them back! What hurtful things have taken place, have been said, written and protested in the past 12 months? Tooth sprite represents diversity and its relevance during the pandemic. Injustice, differing political views and inequal access have all been amplified during this time, dividing our country and our communities. Where can we find commonality in our lives and experiences, and how can that bring us together?


There’s been a twist on the way we do nearly everything! Twister sprite embraces prosperity and serves as a metaphor for our economy. How have we come together to support each other? Are you donating time and resources to social service agencies, supporting neighbors in need? Have you consciously chosen to make purchases from individuals and local businesses? How have you been impacted financially? If you could twist open the lid, what recommendations would you place inside Twister to support a prosperous future?

Take a peek behind the scenes with WOSU‘s Broad & High to hear from Dublin artist Matthew Mohr and see how the Lightning Sprites were created: