Bloomberg Philanthropies has selected Breathing Lights, an art installation with a purpose in mind, to receive a $1 million grant. This massive installation will span throughout Albany, Schenectady and Troy. Breathing Lights is designed to illuminate the area’s struggle with vacancy and its effect on the economy in hopes of regenerating interest in these once-vibrant neighborhoods and communities.
One of the project renderings featured on the Breathing Lights website
For two months, Breathing Lights will light up the street-facing windows of vacant houses and buildings throughout the Capital Region. The soft glow in the windows will pulse and mimic the rhythm of human breathing.
The project is being led by artist and SUNY Albany art professor Adam Frelin and architect Barbara Nelson. It is also bringing together local architects, students and artists to help design and install the lighting, including the Lighting Research Center at RPI in Troy. By using electric light, the installation is also infusing history with its revitalization efforts. Electricity was pioneered in the Capital Region and was largely responsible for lively communities throughout the area.
The main goal of this installation? To engage residents, policymakers and prospective buyers and investors to help these buildings, one by one, come back to life. Architect Barbara Nelson stated in a video that she renovated a vacant building and was inspired to do so because she saw someone else do it. There is hope that once the glowing windows go dim at the end of the two month cycle, people in the community will be called to action to bring light to those areas once again.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this great idea come to life over the next few months! What do you think about Breathing Lights spanning across the Capital Region’s three cities?