Blighted homes on Eastern Avenue and Degraff Street have new life with breathing lights.
Eight properties in the city of Schenectady are being used as tests for a Breathing Lights project in Albany, Schenectady and Troy that received a $1 million grant as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge.
Breathing Lights, pitched by Troy residents Adam Frelin and Barbara Nelson, will give life to vacant homes by installing LED lights around the perimeter of street-facing windows and having the lights dim and brighten, giving the illusion that the homes have a pulse and are “breathing.”
The technology was installed in buildings at 762, 764, 846, 852 and 854 Eastern Avenue as well as 105 and 108 Degraff Street and the former St. Mary’s Convent on Eastern Avenue.
The properties are either city-owned or owned by the Capital Region Land Bank, except for 764 Eastern Ave., which is privately owned and undergoing renovations.
The lights are temporarily on at the homes between 6 and 10 p.m. daily. The test is expected to run until Tuesday. The buildings are being used as tests before Breathing Lights is expanded in the fall to a total of about 300 vacant homes in the cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy.
The mayors of the three cities are scheduled to hold a press conference on the Breathing Lights project next month at the former church next to the convent on Eastern Avenue.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden plan to announce details of the project and call for submissions for projects to coincide with Breathing Lights.
Hundreds of homes are expected to be lit each night in October and November of this year, according to a media advisory from the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region on Wednesday.
The temporary public art installation will be supported by eight months of programming and events in the three cities, the advisory says.