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A Light on Blight

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 4, 2016) — Last weekend the art installation Breathing Lights opened, filling dark and vacant houses in Albany, Schenectady and Troy with light — a pulsating warm glow that echoes the rhythm of human breathing.

Today from 7 to 8 p.m. at the University Art Museum, the team that is using art to illuminate the problem of urban blight will be talking about the project. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Art and Art History and the University’s Office of Sustainability.

Lead artist Adam Frelin, an associate professor of Art and Art History, along with architect Barbara Nelson and project director Judie Gilmore, will lead an informal discussion on the project.

Throughout October and November, hundreds of windows in vacant buildings will be lit each day from 6-10 p.m., transforming the abandoned structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth.

The installation project won $1 million from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, which encourages mayors to collaborate with artists on developing innovative public art projects that enrich communities and attract visitors. Bloomberg Philanthropies says the challenge money, used over two years, is for temporary works “that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and drive economic development.”

Breathing Lights collaborators include Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Schenectady Mayor Cary McCarthy, as well as dozens of community and private-sector partners working to develop the installation and the supporting programming, which includes community arts presentations, gallery talks and policy discussions.

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