Lights Over Bushwick: Local steeple pays tribute to essential workers

May 21, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Those searching for a beacon of hope in the time of COVID-19 need look no further than the steeple of Episcopal church Iglesia de la Santa Cruz in Bushwick, at 176 St. Nicholas Ave.

The building, which also houses Bushwick Abbey and the community organizing community Mayday Space, features a mid-century modern steeple which has been repurposed by installation artist Jonathan Sparks to become the interactive light installation “Lights Over Bushwick.”

The installation was designed by artist Jonathan Sparks, with technical contributions from Clara Santamaria Vargas.

The project, which uses programmable flashing LED panels, was assembled with technical contributions from Clara Santamaria Vargas and with support from the Greater New York Development Fund of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council.

This project resurrects and reinvents the steeple as a beacon for community interaction in a post-modern, pluralistic world. The installation uses LED lights instead of bells to communicate with the community.

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The project’s LED panels can change color to mark special occasions and events.

The light panels change color based on user input to mark special occasions and events. For example, during pride week, the lights could make a rainbow; during various holidays, both religious and secular, the lights could glow in colors associated with that particular holiday; and during New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July, the lights could act as “fireworks.”

Currently, the installation honors essential workers by glowing blue as a part of the #lightitblue campaign. In addition, there will be a special tribute where the lights will animate every night from 7 to 9 p.m.

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