Breathing Lights: Sanctuary, Troy Hub

The Sanctuary for Independent Media is the “Hub” for the Breathing Lights project. Our hope to use participatory arts practice to educate and empower people to make a change in their communities. Our organization is dedicated to giving voice to those least represented in the media – so creating stories of people living amongst abandoned buildings, and using art to network diverse organizations striving to improve the health and welfare of our communities, fits directly within our mission. We will host several events related to the theme of vacant buildings and community revitalization during 2016. Projects include:


Conceived by lead artist and University of Albany art professor Adam Frelin and lead architect Barbara Nelson, AIA, of TAP, Inc., Breathing Lights has brought together more than 25 community and private sector partners. The project will culminate in spring 2017 with a regional summit on vacant homes and neighborhood revitalization that will engage local residents, prospective buyers and investors, and policy makers. Breathing Lights was selected in June 2015 as one of four temporary public art projects from across the United States to receive a grant award from the first-ever Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Other winning cities are Gary, IN, Spartanburg, SC, and Los Angeles, CA. Full information on all projects can be found at 

Breathing Lights, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative, will illuminate hundreds of vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy nightly in October and November 2016. This unprecedented installation will be supported by eight months of programming and events across three cities. Breathing Lights will transform public streets into an evocative experience with the goal of sparking community conversation around the issues of vacancy and community revitalization.

The public is invited to visit the newly-redesigned and/or follow the conversation at #BreathingLights for full information on projects and opportunities including:
•    City Weekends and Opening Parties: Each partner city will “host” a weekend during the installation this fall featuring a range of events that invite the public to experience Breathing Lights and meet community partners. Save the dates for:
     o    Albany – November 4-5; hosted by the Breathing Lights Albany hub, the Albany Barn.
     o    Schenectady – November 18-19; hosted by the Breathing Lights Schenectady hub, the Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady and project partner Proctors.
     o    Troy – September 30- October 1; hosted by the Breathing Lights Troy hub, the Sanctuary for Independent     Media and project partner the Arts Center for the Capital Region.
•    Community Arts Projects: A competition for Community Arts projects will support small grants for individual artists related to the Breathing Lights theme. Curated by the Breathing Lights neighborhood hubs and the project’s core team, these projects are an opportunity for up to 15 local artists to develop and display arts projects that will enhance the local connection.
     o    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 and web art, etc. Although not required, projects are encouraged to be able to be installed and/ or presented in public spaces surrounding Breathing Lights installations in fall 2016. SUBMISSION PROCESS AND LINK TO APPLY TO COME.
•    Affinity Projects: Local arts and cultural organizations and policy and community development organizations will reimagine programs to design “affinity projects” that will compliment and reflect the themes of light, breath, voice and revitalization. Gallery exhibits, performances, lectures and special projects in all media and for all audiences will be scheduled for the summer and fall of 2016. Confirmed affinity project partners include the Arts Center for the Capital Region, the Historic Albany Foundation and the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga. DETAILS ON HOW TO PROPOSE AN AFFINITY PROJECT TO COME
•     Youth Media Workshops: In each partner city, programs have been developed to educate youth ages 14 to 19 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.  
•    Neighborhood Ambassadors: At the press conference, the mayors also welcomed several local individuals (NAMES TO COME) as Neighborhood Ambassadors for Breathing Lights. Ambassadors will serve as neighborhood spokespersons, build community connections, and collect public thoughts and opinions before, during and after the installation.
•    Rehab Heroes: The mayors also announced the project’s first Rehab Hero. Over the next eight months, Breathing Lights project partners will nominate a regional group of Rehab Heroes, individuals who have successfully rehabbed vacant or abandoned buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy and have expertise in navigating the complicated issues and tasks required to successfully bring a previously vacant structure back to life.  
Breathing Lights is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative. Lead local support provided by MVP Health Care, the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region as fiscal sponsor, and WMHT as media partner.  Additional support provided by architecture+, BBL Construction Services, GE, Key Bank, McCarthy Charities, Nigro Companies, the Schenectady Foundation, Tri City Rentals, and the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation.