Civic Play delivers the gift of civic kinship.
My artistic mission is to create open participatory platforms for creative play in public
spaces, mostly in the form of lantern parades. Parades are where a community sees
itself. Lantern Parades are where a community sees itself as comprised of volumes of
light, moving to the same rhythm, through a shared space. I believe this experience and
the memory of it has a lasting positive impact on how people feel about their public
space and who they share it with. When we lay down joyful shared memories in a
place, it is a blessing on that place. I create large scale lantern puppets because I believe
in the experiential value of real encounters with fantastical creatures. When we
encounter and interact with art beyond our imagination in a familiar space, it expands
our capacity to imagine what is possible here. I believe we have a common calling to delight one another.
I hope my work serves as a ritual reminder that we have the collective agency to regularly create wondrous experiences for ourselves and our community.
A distinction of my lantern parade practice is establishing that everyone is invited to
participate individually. You do no need to belong to club, you don't have to register, you just
need to come with a lantern that you made. I wanted to remove any barrier to participation and
In contemplating the BeltLine Parade's growth from four-hundred people in 2010 to
seventy-thousand by 2016, I can’t help but feel that it met a need. What is the nature of
that need? This is a central question of my work. I believe there is a need for recurring
occasions that value individual creative expression, where a community experiences its
illuminated self. As traditions, participatory creative celebrations reinforce our belief in
the extraordinary nature of our collective character. I strive to create a platform for this
Chantelle Rytter is a community parade artist best known for founding the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade with the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons, of which she is the proud Captain. Chantelle has founded several other annual parades based in public participation; the Decatur Lantern Parade, the Grant Park Halloween Lantern Parade, and the Sandy Springs Lantern Parade on the Chattahoochee River. Her latest work, Parliament of Owls, debuted in Midtown this August. Though official word is pending, the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons is believed to hold the world record for Most People Dressed as Garden Gnomes. Chantelle grew up in Baltimore and studied integrative arts at Penn State University. She lived in New Orleans for ten years and fell under the spell of parade culture and the notion that creative play can be a civic gift.
Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade 2010-2018
An estimated 70,000 people participated in and attended the BeltLine Lantern Parade in 2018, holding up a light for the Atlanta Beltline with handcrafted lanterns. The lantern parade is based in community participation and features large scale lanterns created and performed by the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons. I build feature lanterns, teach workshops, and lead the parade. This is a project with Art on the Atlanta BeltLine.
Sandy Springs Lantern Parade: Take it to the River 2015-2018
This lantern parade celebrates the Chattahoochee River, and is unique in the world in that large scale lanterns are animated on the water by paddle boards. This is a project with the City of Sandy Springs. Top 20 Festival & Event Champion Award by the Southeast Tourism Society 2018
Parliament of Owls: A Midtown Lantern Parade 2018
400 owls flocked in Midtown Atlanta for the 1st Parliament of Owls, featuring animated owl lantern puppets and spinning owl headdresses. Parliament of Owls was sponsored by Midtown Alliance and the Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs.
Decatur Lantern Parade, 2012 - 2018
An estimated 6000 people attend and participate in the Decatur Lantern Parade celebrating the arrival of summer. The Decatur Lantern Parade partership includes The Decatur Education Foundation, The Decatur Arts Alliance, Indie-Decatur, and Color Wheel Studio.
Avondale Estates Lantern Parade 2018
Featuring Alice the 26' illuminated albino alligator on Lake Avondale.
All Souls Altars + Parade of the Dead 2018
Altars remembering our dead are set up in businesses in Little Five Points. The Krewe's giant skeleton puppets parade to visit all the altars and deliver flowers.
Atlanta Streets Alive Bicycle Parades 2012-2018
Atlanta’s open-streets project, Atlanta Streets Alive, occurs three times a year. Each Streets Alive kicks off with a parade led by a flock of bicycle Phoenixes, representing the rise in ridership across Atlanta neighborhoods. This is a project with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
Grant Park Halloween Lantern Parade, Atlanta GA 2012-2018
Jack-o-Lanterns, ghosts, and goblins haunt Grant Park in a procession through the dark paths of this city park where all of the street lights are broken. This is a project with the Grant Park Conservancy.
Magical Anxiety, Digital Graffiti, Alys Beach FL, June 2014
A performance art installation where a 26' foot illuminated albino alligator follows a small paddle boat around Lake Marilyn for two nights of Digital Graffiti, an international projection festival in Alys Beach, Florida. Magical Anxiety is a playful illustration of our absurd fears.
SXSW Southern Fried Lantern Parade, Austin, TX, March 2014
A commision from the Choose ATL campaign and Southern Fried to represent Atlanta with a lantern parade at SXSW Interactive. The SXSW Southern Fried Lantern Parade partnership included Mail Chimp, Georgia Power, Georgia Innovation, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Cause SHift, and more.
Holiday Lantern Parade, Village of Baytowne Wharf, Sandestin FL 2010-2013
In 2013, I built a 12’ solar illuminated catfish to float in the pond that the parade encircles. The parade includes a dozen giant fabric stars, illuminated giants, stacks of illuminated presents, and a bubble wrap Christmas tree. This is a project with The Village of Baytowne Wharf Neighborhood Association.
The Startdust Stroll, Decatur GA 2013-2018
Glennwood Elementary’s second grade concluded their study of the cosmos with a lantern parade. I gave a lantern parade presentation and led eighty students in lantern making. This project was sponsored by the Decatur Education Foundation.
Jazz Funeral for Snake Nation October 2012
As part of FLUX Night, the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons held a Jazz funeral for Snake Nation, a gritty piece of 1850’s Atlanta History where a red light district was burned down. The procession included a forty saloon salute made of oil lamp shadow box lanterns crafted in workshops, snake oil salesmen, and a collection of large scale torchier lanterns.
We the People October 2012
A life-sized paper puppet parade crafted by eighty third graders in conjunction with a study of American heroes of democracy. This project was sponsored by the Decatur Education Foundation and Oakhurst Elementary.
Sandy Springs Lantern Parade Top 20 Festival & Event Champion Award by the Southeast Tourism Society 2018
Atlanta Magazine Groundbreaker Award 2016
ChooseATL Campaign Featured Artist 2015
Golden Shoe Award, PEDs Atlanta, 2014
Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award Finalist, 2014
BA Integrative Arts, Pennsylvania State University, 1991.
Graduate Homeschooling, Parade Arts + Civics, 1991 – present.
Chantelle Rytter Projects
Creative Director 2011-present
Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons
Founder and Captain, 1999-present
Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, March 2012-15
Art Tour Curator and Tour Guide
Entertainment Design Group, Atlanta 2011
Scenic painting and sculpting.
McKenna Long & Aldridge 2001-2011
Blaine Kern Studios, New Orleans 2001
Paper Mache Artist