Starry Night

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If you couldn’t find any twinkling blue LED lights at Target at Christmas time in 2009, that was because artists Lisa Greenfield and Daniel J. van Ackere, armed with a budget of $1000 from the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC), bought out the entire stock from about a dozen stores in the Greater Boston area.

That, and a supply of heavy-duty binder clips to attach the lights to the bridge, was the beginning of their temporary public art project Starry Night, which was part of FPAC ‘s  2009 Winter Solstice Public Art Series.  “We wanted to brighten up our neighborhood, and make the stretch of road on A Street under the Summer Street overpass safer and festive” said Greenfield.

The piece was slated for an eight week installation, but was greeted by so much enthusiasm that it remained for the maximum time allowed by the Boston Art Commission for  temporary works of public art – 18 months.  When the lights came down,  many local residents and workers were disappointed and asked to have it replaced.

Greenfield and van Ackere, with FPAC, applied for and received a planning grant from New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in 2011 to hire engineers to research how to make the project more permanent.

Redesigned to incorporate state of the art technology and a fully programmable interface, Starry Night is scheduled to brighten Fort Point for the next ten years.

The installation is best viewed from A Street at Summer Street (between Congress Street and Melcher Street), in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood of South Boston.

Starry Night is funded by Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund.

The project is made possible with support from the Fort Point Arts Community, the City of Boston Public Works Department, the City of Boston Street Lighting Division and the Artist Building at 300 Summer Street.

Special thanks to Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Boston Art Commission, ALPS Advanced Lighting & Production Services, Lin & Associates, Inc. Mystic Scenic Studios, Pharos Architectural Controls Limited, Ideal Electric, Philips Color Kinetics, Peter Agoos, and Gabrielle Schaffner and Karin Goodfellow.