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The biggest piece of public art in Chicago's history - an interactive light sculpture under the Wabash L tracks, designed by you.
The biggest piece of public art in Chicago's history - an interactive light sculpture under the Wabash L tracks, designed by you.
The biggest piece of public art in Chicago's history - an interactive light sculpture under the Wabash L tracks, designed by you.
538 backers pledged $57,384 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Wabash Lights

$57,384

538

The Wabash Lights were born out of a question: can we create the biggest piece of public art in Chicago's history - a piece that is created by the public?

The Wabash Lights is an art installation of light fixtures on the underside of the elevated train tracks on Wabash Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Using over 24,000 programmable light emitting diodes (LEDs) to transform an iconic piece of Chicago infrastructure and history, The Wabash Lights will create a publicly accessible canvas for a dynamic, interactive and creative experience that will in turn re-energize Wabash Avenue and redefine the Chicago Loop.

Once fully installed, The Wabash Lights will be programmable by anyone with a phone through app or text; the first work of public art to marry light, technology and community. 

IS THIS MAGIC? (HOW IT WORKS)

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The above prototype video demonstrates how anyone will be able to text the lights to change colors. This is just the beginning of what The Wabash Lights will be able to do!

In August 2015, we successfully raised $60,000 through Kickstarter to install The Wabash Lights Beta Test. The Beta Test has given us the opportunity to test the lights, troubleshoot challenges and promote the lights. We are returning to Kickstarter again because it's important to us that The Wabash Lights be seeded by the public. Public art is often created by one, paid for by few, but meant for everyone. We want to reverse that notion and bring the voice of the people that will enjoy and experience The Wabash Lights into our efforts as donors and designers.

As a Kickstarter supporter, you'll one of the first people to design the lights, and then you get preferential treatment to jump the line when queues start to form.

WHY WABASH?

A loud, dark stretch of the city, Wabash Avenue is largely avoided by tourists, but it is uniquely Chicago; it is where Chicagoans work, live and commute. Canopied by the industrial, iconic elevated tracks, Wabash Avenue is an authentic, but under appreciated backbone of Chicago. 

The Wabash Lights are a catalyst for continued transformation of Wabash Avenue into a hub for the arts. Further, data shows that major public art installations directly increase tourism and commerce, retain and expand existing businesses and strengthen civic pride.

PROJECT SUPPORTERS + STAKEHOLDERS

Supporters of the project include, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Brendan Reilly, The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Additionally, Comcast is proud to announce that they've come onboard as Official Technology Sponsor and are providing $25,000 in funding for The Wabash Lights. Comcast's goal is to connect the power of the Internet to the arts to bring together, delight and entertain millions of Chicagoans and tourists from all over the world. 

REWARD DETAILS

Shirt or Tote: CHOOSE WISELY
Shirt or Tote: CHOOSE WISELY

 

 

    
Not to size, but what is really...
Not to size, but what is really...

 

Yes, THE Daniel Burnham
Yes, THE Daniel Burnham

 

Wabash After Dark
Wabash After Dark

 

OTHER COOL PROJECT OUTCOMES

  • Foster a safer, well lit downtown
  • Revitalize a historic Chicago district
  • Highlight the unique and authentic character of Chicago
  • Beautify the "L" (elevated tracks)
  • Create a new destination in the Chicago Loop
  • Put the public in public art
  • Boost tourism, broaden the profile of visitors to Chicago
  • Re-define public art 

WE'LL JUST LEAVE THESE HERE

THE TEAM


Partners

Aldridge Electric - Electrical Contractor
Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC) - Lighting Integrator
Table Xi - App Development Partner

Advisory Board
Charles Adler, Founder - Center for Lost Arts
Brenda Berman, BB Communications
Nick Brown, Founder - Glappitnova
Jenni Button, Gallery Director - Matthew Rachman Gallery
Eric Gannon, Studio Director - Gensler
Jordan Ho, Head of Product - Label Insight
Tristan Hummel, Mosaic North America
Bruce Sheridan, Chair of Cinema Art + Science - Columbia College Chicago
Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director - Illinois Humanities

Risks and challenges

In the previous Kickstarter, we raised funds for a "beta test" - to install a portion of lights on the tracks to troubleshoot vibrations, safety, light durability, and interactivity. We also used it as a way for us to establish a workflow with our partners ILC and Aldridge Electric as well as our city partners.

With the beta test up for 9 months now, we know the lights will work, they are not a distraction, the vibrations are negligible, and we've figured out interactivity.

The risks and challenges we face now are funding related. This kickstarter will probably not raise the total funds needed to install 2 full blocks of lights. Our goal is to use the kickstarter to create a groundswell of grassroots support to convince corporate, private, and foundational support to join.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THE ONE DOLLAR LEVEL

    Knowledge that you helped to bring a one-of-a-kind project to life. Plus, you'll get updates so you can follow along with the project as it progresses.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SUPPORTER

    Your name added to the website as a proud supporter of The Wabash Lights and all the exciting project news you can handle.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT or TOTE

    Show the world that you helped to Light Up Wabash with a limited edition tee or tote, and the above rewards

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE "WABASH AFTER DARK" TEE

    We created this limited edition black t-shirt in collaboration with Kickstarter*. The final backer details are printed on the right sleeve as a cool way to commemorate this first-of- it's-kind piece of public art. T-Shirt will be fulfilled by Kickstarter immediately after the campaign.**

    * You only get this T-shirt if you choose this reward.

    ** When the shirts are printed the logo will wrap around the sleeve but it is presented this way so you can see that the stats will be featured.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    EARLY BIRD: OWN A PIXEL

    Your name attributed to one of the 24,000 pixels that make up The Wabash Lights! Also: the limited edition tee or tote, a certificate of ownership for your pixel, an LED button, your name or message listed on an online map displaying its location, and the ability to be one of the first people to design the lights. The price to own a pixel will go up after we sell the first 500!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    EARLY BIRD: OWN A LIGHT

    Your name attributed to one of the 600 light fixtures that make up The Wabash Lights! Also: a VIP invite to the "Turn on Wabash" opening reception, your name on a digital plaque on Wabash, a scaled, 3D printed replica of your light, the limited edition tee or tote, a certificate of ownership for the light, your name on an interactive map showing its location online, and the ability to be one of the first people to design the lights. The price to own a light will go up after we sell the first 50!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    EARLY BIRD: OWN A ROW

    Your name attributed to one whole row of lights (12 lights) of the 600 light fixtures that make up The Wabash Lights! Also: a tour of the lights, a VIP invite to the "Turn on Wabash" opening reception, your name at the top tier level placement on a digital plaque on Wabash, a scaled, 3D printed replica of your lights, the limited edition tee or tote, a certificate of ownership for the light, your name on an interactive map showing its location online, and the ability to be one of the first people to design the lights.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    EARLY BIRD: VIP OWN A ROW

    Your name attributed to one whole row of lights (12 lights) of the 600 light fixtures that make up The Wabash Lights! Also: join us on stage as we flip the switch at the "Turn on Wabash" opening reception, a dinner with Seth, Jack and the team, and private tour of the lights, your name at the top tier level placement on a digital plaque on Wabash, a scaled, 3D printed replica of your lights, the limited edition tee or tote, a certificate of ownership for the light, your name on an interactive map showing its location online, and the ability to be one of the first people to design the lights.

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Funding period

- (28 days)