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Hi.

My name is Gary Zidek. Welcome to The Arts Section. Tune into the radio program every Sunday morning on WDCB 90.9 & 90.7 FM or listen to it online here. I'll be showcasing a variety of arts & entertainment, as well as.highlighting some creative ideas.

Illuminating Public Art: The Wabash Lights Taking Next Steps

Illuminating Public Art: The Wabash Lights Taking Next Steps

WDCB’s Gary Zidek talks to the team leading the effort to make The Wabash Lights a reality.

LISTEN HERE

“It’s sort of interesting, because (with) projects like this, there’s moments that are public, (where) there are things happening, like the beta test is going up or we’re doing a Kickstarter. And then you go quiet or dark for a little bit. And people might be like ‘what are you doing? Did you give up?’ And it’s like ‘no’, we’ve been working probably harder than ever for the past couple of years trying to build up capacity and make those connections, and make sure that it technologically is going to work.” - Jack Newell talking about what’s been going on the past few years.

 Left to right: Seth Unger, Jack Newell and Maria Demopoulos

Left to right: Seth Unger, Jack Newell and Maria Demopoulos

The Wabash Lights concept was formally introduced to the public just about four years ago. The concept: to install programmable LED light tubes underneath the L tracks on Wabash Avenue.

 A rendering of what The Wabash Lights could look like

A rendering of what The Wabash Lights could look like

Over the past 3 years, the project has expanded and evolved to include some new public outreach elements.

The team working to get the lights turned on has grown, and now includes a board of directors. Board chair, Maria Demopoulos says one of the ideas that’s changed in recent years, is that “it’s less about putting a piece of art on the L, and more about creating a canvas or platform for art”, so that The Wabash Lights are accessible to everyone.

 Rendering of The Wabash Lights

Rendering of The Wabash Lights

Programming the lights will be a mix of different things. Unger and Newell would like to have famous artists and institutions create special works specifically for The Wabash Lights. But the Lights will also always be interactive and accessible, so anyone with a mobile device could feasibly engage.

 Image from the beta test of The Wabash Lights

Image from the beta test of The Wabash Lights

Supporters of The Wabash Lights are holding a fundraising event on Thursday, September 20 that’s being called LIGHTBASH. The event will help raise money for The Wabash Lights capital campaign. Click here for more info.

Attendees can get an up-close look at The Wabash Lights mobile unit, which offers a small taste of what the Lights will look like.

 The Wabash Lights mobile unit

The Wabash Lights mobile unit

You can learn more about The Wabash Lights by visiting thewabashlights.com.

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