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Illuminating the Issue of Urban Blight

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 17, 2016) -- Solving the issue of high vacancy rates is an unenviable task for communities through out the United States. University at Albany Associate Professor of art and art history Adam Frelin is taking a creative approach to the problem, by using lighting to 'breathe' life back into abandoned or empty homes.

The purpose of the Breathing Lights project is to "create something beautiful in places that sometimes lack beautiful things," said Frelin, who developed the concept with Barbara Nelson, executive director of Troy Architecture Program.

A beta test with some of the properties was conducted in late winter, while the full roll-out of the artistic program will occur in October and November 2016. In conjunction with the temporary art installation, there are a number of events scheduled including building reclamation clinics and youth media workshops. Gallery exhibits, performances and other art projects related to the Breathing Light theme will run at art galleries in the area.The project ends next spring with a regional summit on vacant homes and neighborhood revitalization.

The project was one of four winners in the nationwide Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, which is providing up to $1 million over two years to illuminate hundreds of empty homes within the cities of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy.

Lead local support for Breathing Lights being provided by the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region as fiscal agent, and WMHT as media partner. Special thanks to project partners TAP, Inc., the Albany County Land Bank Corporation, the Capital Region Land Bank, the Troy Community Land Bank, the Albany Barn, the Sanctuary for Independent Media, the Schenectady Boys and Girls Club, Proctors and the Rockefeller College's Center for Women and Government in Civil Society.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.



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