ICONIC: Northeast Green Light Project, Minneapolis

A small-but-effective project in Minneapolis brings together interactive sculpture with a neighborhood’s energy efficiency and consumption efforts.

Photo courtesy of Northeast Green Light Project

Photo courtesy of Northeast Green Light Project

Through a grant from the Minnesota Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) “Art As Energy” program, sculptor James Brenner worked with the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association (HNIA), Edison High School, and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) on developing and installing a set of six LED light sculptures in Edison’s parking lot, located at the intersection of 22nd Avenue and Quincy Street NE.

The Northeast Green Light Project displays changing colored lights, starting at orange for a baseline visualization of energy consumption in the Holland Neighborhood. When residents make collective changes to their energy consumption through efficiency and behavioral changes, the sculpture will change color based on energy conservation data feeding into the sculptures. The lights will finally shift to an alternating blue and green when the neighborhood saves enough energy equivalent to the amount needed to power Edison High School for a year.

Courtesy of the Northeast Green Light Project

Courtesy of the Northeast Green Light Project

Due to the project’s highly collaborative and participatory nature, Brenner engaged neighborhood residents in an iron pour “performance” at Jackson Square Park, where the community was able to watch (and in some cases, participate) in the creation of iron lawn medallions that were installed in front of the homes of participants in the project’s energy reduction measures.

The project installation and ribbon-cutting ceremony, on November 7, 2013, was accompanied by the Edison High School marching band.

“The Northeast Green Light Project demonstrates the power of art to engage a whole community in the challenges we face today,” said Sarah Schultz, director of education at the Walker Art Center and Art as Energy jurist, to The Northeaster (Minneapolis, July 3, 2013), “and inspires us to take action by making our collective efforts visible.”