USA - Seeing Spartanburg in a new light

The City of Spartanburg is one of four nationwide which received up to $1 million in funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge.  The humanitarian program was conceived to support unique new art projects that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and drive economic development.    
The City’s winning entry was one of four selected from a pool of 237 entries nationwide.  The project, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, brings nine LED art installations to public spaces in ten neighborhoods throughout the city.  The grand opening ceremony on October 4, 2016 coincided with the National Night Out, an annual event that promotes crime prevention efforts, police-community partnerships, and neighborhood camaraderie.
Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light is a collaboration among the City of Spartanburg Police and Community Relations Departments, accomplished Austrian light artist Erwin Redl, the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, and neighborhood associations within the City of Spartanburg to transform open spaces and create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods.  Each site is tailored to its specific environment, exploring artistic opportunities through light-based solutions.  The scale, mediums, and designs vary significantly, ranging from simple workshop based video projections and other smaller installations to the large-scale illumination of two tall smokestacks towering to a height of 180 feet.
Griven USA, a manufacturer of dynamic LED façade, accent, and high power illumination products, assisted Mr. Redl and the design team over several months on two of the high profile installations.  The sites were comprised of two historic 1890’s era smokestacks from former textile mills; one located on the campus of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in the Northside of Spartanburg, and the other at the former Beaumont Mill in Beaumont Village.
Redl approached the lighting design of the iconic smokestacks as two synchronized, large-scale “canvasses”.  He employed  high-power RGBW illumination projectors, to bathe the surface of the worn brick smokestacks to great effect.  Artistically, he views these artworks as a new way of seeing old structures - celebrating the spirit of innovation and imagination of these icons from Spartanburg’s textile industry past.
Griven’s Powershine MK2 D high-performance projector systems in RGBW provided the lighting and output performance Redl envisioned.  These projector systems were spaced around each of the structures.  The individual luminaires on the dual unit system were precisely aimed to ensure coverage along the entire diameter and height of the smokestacks.  Color sequencing from an external DMX control system allowed Redl the freedom to tailor color-changing scenes specifically for the event.  The two installations were the culmination of the grand opening program, which featured a spectacular fireworks display. 
Productions Unlimited, Inc., a theatrical systems integration firm specializing in the design, installation, and maintenance of theatrical and architectural lighting for a variety of venues, worked closely with the designer on the installation and implementation of the lighting design.  The company’s president, Brian Phillips, remarked, “Once we understood the scale of the smokestacks, we knew we needed a very capable LED wash fixture. Having recently seen the Griven product on another project, and having heard that they had opened up shop right down the road in Gaffney, SC, we reached out to them for a demo. When we turned on the demo fixture, we knew that we had found the right fixture for the project.”
The installations add vibrancy to the neighborhoods over the long term, but have achieved a much greater impact on the communities by using art to inspire change. 
By design, the grand opening coincided with National Night Out.  Jennifer Evins, CEO of Chapman Cultural Center and Project Director for Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, remarked, “It will be transformative as a light art project, but it’s also the process of relationships that we’ve built…  It’s using art as a catalyst to address important issues that are facing the city.  Celebrating the new relationships that have come out of this with our community and our police officers is really the greatest triumph.”
Terry O’Toole, Nordeon Group North America COO, parent of Griven USA, said, “It was a real honor to have been selected to participate in this remarkable project, and it speaks to our international presence.”
For more information:
Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light: