Symphony of Light

Submitted by Valerie Otani

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Client: City of Hillsboro, Oregon

Location: Hillsboro, OR, United States

Completion date: 2013

Artwork budget: $3,555

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Valerie Otani

City of Hillsboro, Oregon Public Art Program

Artist

Patrick Coan

Artist

Overview

The City of Hillsboro, Oregon, Public Art Program presented “Symphony of Light,” using art to strengthen community by turning a little-used staircase into a pulsating space ship of other-worldly light. The Hillsboro Civic Center’s public stairway became the surface for an animated light projection, pulsing with colors that were precisely fitted to the steps and railings. An interactive experience, viewers took the controls, altering the speed, brightness or colors of the display. Three viewers could be at the controls at a time, playing together to create a “Symphony of Light,” transforming a winter night into a moment of magic.

Goals

The project was designed to create a spectacular highlight to the winter tree lighting ceremony and holiday fair. The interactivity of inviting viewers to “paint with light” drew participants of all ages to the controls while children delighted in dancing in the colored beams.

Process

The Public Art Program supervisor selected an artist who had experience with projection mapping and digital animation. Although the artist’s previous projects had been predominantly in the area of live music shows and game design, he worked closely with staff to map the space and develop an animation program that would engage a wide public. The art display was coordinated with the holiday events to draw people into the downtown area and enliven the business district at night.