Nothing seems to quite embody the holidays like the twinkling of lights against the night sky, and this year, despite the hiatus of Albany Lights in the Park, there are plenty of places to get your glow on. So bundle up and fill that thermos with some hot cocoa to catch these displays in our own backyard or just a short road trip away.
This year, the Troy Glow festival will present six site-specific outdoor installations of light-based art created by regional artists. In addition, eight partner organizations will be participating in various capacities, for a total of 14 Troy Glow sites in a walkable route through historic downtown Troy. To see every installation, the entire Troy Glow walk will take approximately 25 minutes. Running concurrently with the festival, there will be a Troy Glow exhibition of light art in the Arts Center’s Main Gallery featuring work from the ten artist finalists who were selected through the regional public call for art that started the festival’s curatorial process this spring.
Troy Glow projects and exhibition will be on view for five weeks: from Sunday, Dec. 4, the night of Troy’s 40th Annual Victorian Stroll, through Sunday, Jan. 9. Each art installation will be lit and on view every night upon sundown at 4:30 p.m. through 10 p.m.
Troy Glow was created by partners at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy Cultural Alliance, and the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce to bring visitors, shoppers, and diners back to downtown Troy after two years of pandemic precautions, when many people moved to online commerce, frequent take out, and virtual events.
“Like all small cities, Troy really took a hit,” said Arts Center CEO Elizabeth Reiss. “We wanted to invite people, through art, to return to Troy and support the restaurants, businesses, and arts intuitions that make it such a rich cultural hub in the Capital Region. And bonus, we can do that by paying artists to make beautiful things.”
Troy Glow was curated by Judie Gilmore, the Director of Special Projects & Partnerships at the Arts Center.
“I can think of no better way to brighten Troy’s streets during the darkest time of year than through beautiful, thoughtful public art created by some of our region’s most talented artists,” said Gilmore. “Each of the artists selected wanted their artwork to help heal the emotional trauma we have all suffered over the past several years. Ultimately this festival has become about the importance of collective gathering, supporting local businesses and communities, and beautifying the places we live and love.”
Artists participating in the project include Adam Frelin, whose “Empty Signs” display will adorn Donna’s Italian Restaurant and consist of a cluster of glowing, whimsical signs in various shapes and colors whose lights will dance in a choreographed sequence. Artist and designer Natan Diacon-Furtado’s “Our Patterns, Our Architectures” will feature projected images on the back of the Key Bank building of diverse patterns made from shapes and gestures gathered from his research into Troy’s diverse history and architecture. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, artist Lydia Kern will create a monumental, kaleidoscopic sculpture that uses the language of stained glass to illuminate natural materials she’s collected in the Capitol Region. Her installation, “Efflorescence,” will be in conversation with the historic Tiffany windows of St. Paul’s church. “Reflecting on Troy” by light artist and architect Yael Erel and lighting designer Avner Ben-Natan will be located at the back of the Troy Savings Bank and will project a moving lightscape in the back alley of one of Troy’s most famous historic buildings. On the River Street Stairwell, Troy residents Julian Goldman and Avi Nagel will install “The Wind Wheels Project” to test a series of kinetic lanterns that make visible the hidden power of the environment while connecting the city’s prosperous past to an optimistic future. The upper windows of the Arts Center of the Capital Region will be illuminated by “Troy Farillon” by artist Adam Tinkle, whose digital projection draws on the tradition of large clocks in city centers that for centuries have helped residents keep track of, and share, time and space.
Other organizations participating in Troy Glow include Vicina – Modern Urban Flats, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, TAP, Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Hart Cluett Museum, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, lightexture and RPI.
More information can be found at TroyGlow.com/news.
The Bethlehem Police Department will once again be hosting its annual Holiday Lights in the Park drive-through event at Elm Avenue Park. The event takes place Saturday, Dec. 10, from 6-9 p.m. This is a free event, but tickets (one per vehicle) will be required. They will also be accepting donations of non-perishable food items, unwrapped toys, and pet care items that will be dispersed throughout the community this December.
Bring your family and friends to see the sights and sounds of the holiday seasons with displays from local police, fire and EMS departments, local businesses and organizations. There will be a limited number of cupcake kits from The Perfect Blend Bakery and goodie bags handed out to vehicles with children in them.
Participants are asked to sign up for a time slot so police can prevent traffic issues from occurring. Visit bit.ly/3VbQPwK to sign up for your ticket.
Winterlights – the award-winning, immersive holiday light display, returns for its fifth year and will take place at three properties – the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton, Naumkeag in Stockbridge, and the Stevens-Coolidge House and Gardens in North Andover.
All three garden properties will sparkle with hundreds of thousands of lights along with food, refreshments, and more to make for a magical experience for all. The displays will run Wednesdays through Sundays through and Jan. 7, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Those wishing to attend must purchase online tickets in advance at thetrustees.org/winterlights/.
“Watching our beautiful public gardens transform into a winter wonderland where special memories with family and friends are made has become an annual tradition of wonder and delight,” said Trustees Interim President & CEO Nicie Panetta.
At the 90-acre Bradley Estate, people can enjoy an illuminated woodland trail as well as light displays and illuminations throughout the elegant, lattice-walled gardens. The layout at Bradley is being reimagined this year, but the beloved Candy Cane Lane leading up to the historic home will remain.
Residents and visitors to the Berkshires will once again be able to bask in the illuminated wonder of the public gardens and estate at Naumkeag, where meticulously designed displays light up the amazing 48-acre grounds. Favorite installations like Rainbow Road, The Laser Light Forest, and Blue Steps will return alongside new elements that will surprise new visitors, as well as those who have made this a family tradition. The site will also debut a new path through the orchard, as part of a garden restoration project, that is designed to improve the terrain, although it is not recommended for those with mobility issues. There will be no on-site parking at Winterlights this year, as guests will park in designated parking spaces on both sides of Town Hall at 50 Main St. and take a short shuttle ride to the property.
Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens is back for 2022 and fresh off interior and exterior renovations. In addition to the stunning outdoor light displays spread out across 91 acres, visitors will also be able to experience the newly renovated home on the property that belonged to Helen Stevens Coolidge and her husband, John Gardner Coolidge – a diplomat descended from Thomas Jefferson and a nephew to Isabella Stewart Gardner.
Sweet and savory holiday-themed delights such as hot cocoa, hot cider, cookies, and cider doughnuts will be offered at all three locations.
Tickets go quickly, so visitors are encouraged to secure passes by visiting thetrustees.org/winterlights.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, adults pay $22 and children ages 3-13 pay $10. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, cost $27 and $10 for children 3-13. Children 2 and under are free.
Wander into an enchanting, illuminated, winter wonderland to explore the sights and sounds of Wild Lights at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Thousands of lights will transform the campus into a twinkling, family-friendly experience that is sure to become a holiday tradition for many families.
Wild Lights will be open from 5-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 25, and open every day during Winter Week (Dec. 16-23) and Holiday Week (Dec. 26-31).
Enjoy the Forest Music area, where over 130 trees are wrapped in colorful lights that illuminate the forest and will transport you to a winter wonderland. A new musical composition from Whatever Penny creates a magical three-dimension dreamy winter soundscape
The Wild Walk will be strung with tens of thousands of lights so you can experience the outdoors like never before. New winter installations provide Instagram-worthy photos and opportunities to create lifelong winter memories.
Also enjoy Patrick Dougherty’s “Hopscotch,” which glows and provides an opportunity for your imagination to run wild.
Warm up inside the center with hot drinks, food, and an opportunity to check out the Living River Trail (otters included!). Interactive light up pieces like an oversized Lite Brite provides fun for kids and a chance for old school nostalgia for adults.
The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for youth. Children 4 and under are free
Just a reminder, The Wild Center does minimal grooming of trails so appropriate footwear during the wintery months is recommended.
Compiled by Kristen Roberts, editor of Capital District