More details about Breathing Lights

Breathing Lights Schenectady test

One of illuminated buildings in a recent concept test in Schenectady. / photo: Hyers + Mebane

There are some more details out about the Breathing Lights public art project that's set for this fall in Albany, Schenectady and Troy.

You might remember this is the project that won a large grant in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge last summer as part of a national competition. It will be illuminating hundreds of vacant buildings during eventing in October and November with pulsing, "breathing" interior lighting with the goal of generating interest in neighborhood development.

Project organizers recently completed a test of the concept at a handful of houses in Schenectady.

Here's a condensed outline of some events, along with some info about opportunities to get involved...

City weekends

Each city will host events during the installation:

September 30-October 1: Troy
Troy hub: The Sanctuary for Independent Media, project partner: the Arts Center for the Capital Region.

October 28-20: Schenectady
Schenectady hub: the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, project partner: Proctors

November 4-5: Albany
Albany hub: the Albany Barn, project partner: the Historic Albany Foundation

Programming

Clipped from this week's press release:

Youth Media Workshops: In each partner city, programs have been developed to educate youth in the media arts of video, radio, interview, scripting, storytelling and print. Youth Media Workshops will be produced by Youth FX in Albany, Proctors in Schenectady, and Youth Media Sanctuary in Troy. Finished products will give voice to residents directly illuminated by Breathing Lights and will be featured at City Weekend events and at the Breathing Lights culminating summit.
Building Reclamation Clinics: Hosted by partners including the Troy Rehabilitation Improvement Program (TRIP), the Troy Architecture Program (TAP), the Affordable Housing Partnership, the Historic Albany Foundation, various departments in each city and local Land Banks, these free seminars will educate potential property owners of resources currently available, such as Homeownership Counseling, Lead Paint Hazards, Basic Home Repairs, Tax Credits, available grant programs and more. The goal of these clinics is to enhance opportunities for potential buyers, empowering them with the skills and tools to make smart purchases, renovate homes for safety and livability, and establish strong roots in local neighborhoods. Dates and registration information for clinics will be distributed when available.
Affinity Projects at Local Galleries: Gallery exhibits, performances, lectures and special projects in all media and for all audiences that reflect Breathing Lights themes will be scheduled for the summer and fall of 2016. Confirmed affinity project partners include the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs and Workforce Development Institute's Arts & Culture Program of New York State. To propose an affinity project, organizations/individuals are encouraged to contact Judie Gilmore, Breathing Lights Project Director at judie@BreathingLights.com.
Arts Awards Opportunity: The Breathing Lights Arts Awards competition, announced today, will support small awards for a series of projects related thematically to Breathing Lights that will take place during the installation in fall 2016. Curated by the project's neighborhood hubs and core team, these awards are an opportunity for local artists to develop and display arts projects that expand Breathing Light's objective to be an evocative and inclusive public art experience. Artworks can in be proposed in any medium or genre, including, but not limited to: public art installations, visual arts, theater, music, film, electronic media, etc. Submission materials can be accessed at https://artscenterofthecapitalregion.submittable.com/submit/53924.
____

As we wrote last summer, it's worth drawing more attention to issues related to vacant buildings and neighborhood disinvestment. They're persistent problems in many cities around here. But the real test of this project will be whether the installations and programming can transform that attention into meaningful action and change -- especially for the people who already live in these neighborhoods.

Comments

Thank you guys so much for posting (and for forgiving our faux pas in scheduling our press conference at the same time as your birthday party)!

We're starting to see some excellent coordination among the region's land banks, policy makers, nonprofits and neighborhood leaders around investment in abandoned properties.

The issue of abandoned buildings won't be solved by Breathing Lights, but the work that's happening as part of the project will continue to grow and (hopefully!) have a big impact after the lights have gone out.

Thanks for sharing! Shout out to my cousin, Judie Gilmore, who has worked so hard with this team to help make this happen! I am so proud of her!

What a beautiful idea!

What a beautiful idea!

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