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“Lights From Lincoln Center” Evokes Hope During the Holidays with Support from WorldStage

Lights from Lincoln Center, December 10, 2020. Photo by Sachyn Mital.

WorldStage has provided lighting support to Lighting Designer Andrew Grant and Production/Scenic Designer Anita La Scala for “Lights From Lincoln Center.” Josie Robertson Plaza and its beautiful fountain are the focal point of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. This installation marks only the second time that lighting has been used to celebrate and enhance all the iconic buildings that surround the plaza in one cohesive visual experience.

A beautiful study in color and movement, the lighting display is designed to evoke feelings of hope in a difficult time for the city and the world. It incorporates multiple venues on the campus, including the David H. Koch Theater, David Geffen Hall, The Metropolitan OperaHouse, Barclay’s Capital Grove of trees and the Paul Milstein Pool in Hearst Plaza.  The installation, which is open to the public, runs evenings from December 10 through January 18, but is not thematically tied to the holiday season.

“Although no opera, dance, theater or live music is happening at Lincoln Center due to the coronavirus pandemic, the lighting display lifts people’s spirits and reminds everyone that Lincoln Center, one of the premier arts organizations in New York City, is still vibrant and alive,” says Susanna Harris-Rea, Director of Production, Lighting at WorldStage.

Andrew Grant, principal at Andrew Grant Lighting, collaborated with Anita La Scala of ARDA Studio on the installation.  Last summer Grant partnered with WorldStage on the first Lincoln Center illumination, which marked Pride month.

“The Pride lighting got such an overwhelmingly positive response that Lincoln Center was looking for the next opportunity to do something artistic and visually memorable for the neighborhood,” says Grant.

“But where the Pride lighting was a completely static look, this project has more components and is cued out with more colors and movement,” he explains.  “Lincoln Center wanted to make the campus feel alive for the holidays and a bit beyond since the buildings are dark due to the pandemic.  Anita and I had the idea to instill a sense of hope with the interplay between the warm and cool colors of the spectrum reminiscent of a cozy hearth or the Aurora Borealis.”

Grant and La Scala created an complete environment that includes lanterns in the reflecting pool and a two-hour light show, alternating long and short segments and featuring different colors and movement. The show is looped to play for the evening; the next day, the show will display in a different order so no two nights are ever the same.

Four Chauvet COLORado 1 Solo LED wash fixtures from WorldStage are positioned at the base of each column of each building on the Plaza, except for the Metropolitan Opera House where they are mounted on truss above the public’s heads.  “The Solos have great color changing abilities and a zoom feature to create movement,” says Grant.  “They are IP65 outdoor-rated and have performed like champions even after a recent snowstorm.”

Fourteen more COLORado 1 Solos are hung from a circle truss in the center of the adjacent Barclay’s Capital Grove to illuminate the trees in a display coordinated with the Plaza light show.

The west wall of the Koch Theater, which faces Damrosch Park, provides the installation’s largest canvas, allowing a lot of creative space for Mr. Grant. He uses Chauvet COLORado Solo Battens light the architectural columns and Chauvet MK3 Profiles to add color, texture and movement.  Astera AX5 LED PARs serve as truss warmers for the all the structures on campus, rounding out the immersive experience.

In addition to their deployment on the Lincoln Center campus, Solo Battens are mounted on the back wall of the band shell in the campus’s Damrosch Park to light a new pair of vibrant and joyful murals from LaScala and ARDA Studio along Amsterdam Avenue.  “The battens give a nice even wash of the murals, and their clean white (5700K) allows the color to really pop,” notes Grant. This piece, “Message of Hope,” can be enjoyed by the public 24 hours a day.

The show is programmed on an ETC Gio from WorldStage. The lighting display runs autonomously with real time cues on an ETC Ion, which triggers the show to start half-an-hour before sunset.

“Working with Susanna is one of the reasons I’m with WorldStage, and Terry Jackson [WorldStage Vice President, Director of Lighting] is always a great partner for us,” says Grant.  “The people we work with are very important to me. WorldStage provides the confidence and physical support I need for projects.”

Grant thanks Lincoln Center for giving him free rein to create the lighting display.  “It’s the kind of partnership you look for in any artistic endeavor,” he notes.  “When you have the logistical support of WorldStage and the artistic support of Lincoln Center good things happen. ‘Lights From Lincoln Center’ has already enjoyed a great response – Time Out New York has ranked it number 12 of holiday lighting to see in New York City, and there’s a lot of competition on that list!”

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