News + Events

Breathing Lights Coming to Capital District

Have you heard of Breathing Lights, the community art installation that will illuminate vacant buildings?

The project was in the news when it won funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative. The funding will make it possible for artists to create this public installation art in Albany, Schenectady and Troy. The project involves illuminating the windows of hundreds of vacant buildings in the area. Warm light will fill each window with a diffuse glow that mimics the gentle rhythm of human breathing. Concentrated in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, Breathing Lights will transform abandoned structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth.

In the words of organizers, “This unprecedented, multi-city installation will also transform public streets into an evocative experience and will provide a platform to reinvigorate stakeholders around the Capital Region’s most visible symptom of decades of disinvestment. Working with over 25 community and private-sector partners, Breathing Lights includes eight months of programming and events, including: youth media projects, building reclamation clinics, community arts presentations, policy discussions and more.

Led by artist Adam Frelin and architect Barbara Nelson, Breathing Lights will also bring together local fabricators, students, engineers, artists, designers and product developers and will support the local creative economy through the procurement of materials and services from regional businesses and individuals.

Breathing Lights was designed to use one of the region’s historical assets, lighting technology, to illuminate this issue, start conversations, inspire artistic expressions by citizen artists, and spotlight the efforts of reclamation in each community.

At the end of the installation, windows – one by one – will fall dark. In sharing a sense of loss comes a stir to action.”

We’re excited to see this project unfold, to see it get people talking about art, public spaces, about vacant buildings and hopefully about what makes neighborhoods breathe.