Rhode Island School of Design + the Social Light Movement present Southlight, a Lighting Installation at Grace Church Cemetery

January 31, 2014

Rhode Island School of Design presents Southlight, a lighting installation project by RISD students at Grace Church Cemetery. Southlight is the culmination of RISD Wintersession course “Light, City and Community,” led by RISD visiting faculty Elettra Bordonaro architect, PhD and co-founder of the Social Light Movement, a philanthropic organization that works internationally to improve access to quality lighting, especially in disadvantaged communities.

For two days, the nine acres of land at the intersection of Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue, known as Grace Church Cemetery, where many important Rhode Island figures are buried, will welcome the public for a light display that honors the past, the present and a potentially brighter future for the cemetery.

The public installation will begin at 6:00PM on February 6 and 7, and will include an interactive light display, activities for children and refreshments in the (heated) caretaker’s cottage on the premises. All are welcome.

Students from RISD’s Industrial Design, Furniture Design and Architecture departments engaged with neighborhood businesses and residents to find out what ideas and concerns about the cemetery existed. With that in mind, the class worked in teams to proposed several ideas for installations, finally distilling their work into one unifying concept. The RISD proposal was met with enthusiasm at a community meeting of stakeholders, including SWAP, the Elmwood Neighborhood Association, Grace Church, the City of Providence, Residential Properties, and Providence Preservation Society, and the class has been hard at work securing donations, testing fittings and building the structures that are integral to the design to prepare for this celebration.

This has truly been a local community endeavor, with support and sponsorship from RISD, Social Light Movement, SWAP, Grace Church, Residential Properties, the City of Providence, PHILIPS Color Kinetics, National Grid, Friendship Café at Amos House, ATR Treehouse and WaterFire.