Site Projects’ ...Way to Go... is a ground-breaking artwork in the Route 34 connector highway underpass. This interactive light sculpture is designed by Sheila Levrant deBretteville for installation in the highly trafficked space under the bridge on Union Ave, between Union Station and downtown New Haven. Industrial, dirty, and forbidding, the Rt.34 underpass is notorious among the many pedestrians and residents who walk to the train station and live in the surrounding Hill, Wooster Square, and Downtown neighborhoods.
Artist Sheila deBretteville, commissioned by Site Projects, specializes in public artworks that engage the community. DeBretteville spent time visiting the Rt.34 underpass site, researching the neighborhoods, conversing with local residents, listening to the community, and integrating their ideas into the artwork.
The artist’s design, ‘…Way to Go…’, is a permanent interactive light installation spanning the length of the 90ft passage under the highway bridge, employing an array of motion-activated lights and spotlights. Improvements to the industrial landscape will address water drainage problems, greater accessibility, and will create a public plaza sculptural in character.
In addition to the construction of the artwork, Site Projects will bring people together from the adjacent neighborhoods to walk/dance/parade through the passageway in celebration of the area's deep history of urban transformation and the re-imagining a forgotten city space. A documentary film starring residents and pedestrians will capture the progress of the construction over the course of the project. Site Projects will also engage students from High School in the Community, Co-op High School, Gateway Community College, and Yale University to research and study aspects of urban renewal and the impacts of public art, in collaboration with teachers and administrators.
...Way to Go... has precedents in places like Larimer Street in Denver, Colorado where creative lighting and the arts have combined for an inviting and festive quality that is enjoyed by citizens year round. Silent Lights, an urban art installation that frames a pedestrian pathway under the Brooklyn, Queens Expressway and which is embedded with 2,400 LED lights, has likewise, created an inviting space that enhances the quality of life for all. Here, in New Haven, Site Projects is working to bring another interactive light installation to the cityscape through the vision of Sheila deBretteville, bringing light and liveliness to one of our prominent city gateways.
Other works by Sheila Levrant deBretteville
This is a unique partnership of Site Projects, ConnDOT, the City of New Haven Department of Engineering and Economic Planning, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and Sheila Levrant deBretteville.