Business Partnership between ArtsWestchester and Kite Realty Group Results in New Glass and Light Sculpture and Mural at Iconic Shopping Center
White Plains, NY – Holiday shoppers are in for a surprise when they enter the City Center shopping center in White Plains. Visitors will notice significant changes from the center’s entrances that have transformed the space into a modern and welcoming place where the local community can shop, relax and recharge.
ArtsWestchester, the county’s leading arts advocacy organization, recently partnered with the owner of City Center, Kite Realty Group, to bring two commissioned works of art there: a stunning suspended glass and light sculpture and a brightly colored, 2,000-square-foot mural. According to Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester, the works will activate empty airspace, engage visitors, and provide the site with a contemporary aesthetic.
“Our goal is to make art accessible to all people,” Langsam said. “Whether it is in a classroom, a public park or a shopping mall like City Center, art enriches environments and establishes a sense of place.”
ArtsWestchester managed a highly competitive Request for Proposal process for the artwork, which sparked the imagination of artists from all over the Hudson Valley region. More than 20 proposals were submitted and a panel from Kite made the final commission selection. Lightband Studio, based in New York City and Salem, Massachusetts, was commissioned to do the glass and light sculpture in the building’s multi-story atrium, and Mamaroneck painter and muralist Piero Manrique, originally from Lima, was the artist chosen for the mural that greets visitors at the entrance area of the shopping center.
“We are excited about our collaboration with ArtsWestchester that has enabled us to demonstrate the power of art and design in energizing the public spaces at City Center. Our intent, with the two art installations, was to create a focal point within our center that reflects the spirit and vitality of the White Plains community. We feel that we have successfully achieved that, with the help of ArtsWestchester,” said Thomas McGowan, President and COO at Kite Realty Group.
For City Center’s atrium, Lightband Studio created a cascading ribbon of illuminated organic glass forms; a series of floating, dynamically-lit large mesh pieces made from fused glass rods. Each floating piece was hand-shaped into a sculpture that mimics a cloud formation. The entire piece is illuminated by a custom LED lighting system and is titled “LIFT” for the feeling it is meant to evoke.
Lightband Studio is comprised of established artists from the fields of interaction design, glass fabrication, and set design. Its studio principals are Scott Fitzgerald and Derek Wang of Brooklyn and Michael Hall of Salem.
“Lightband Studio approaches glass design and illumination from a unique multidisciplinary perspective to create large-scale dynamic glass artworks for public spaces,” said Derek Wang, a Partner at Lightband Studio. “The glass and light sculpture at City Center exudes a warmth and approachability. As guests and shoppers move through the shopping center, from floor to floor and shop to shop, they are able to view and experience the sculpture as its shape and movement varies throughout the atrium. The cloud formation structure of the sculpture brings the outside in while the dynamic lighting system invites visitors to enjoy all City Center has to offer in shopping, entertainment, and the arts.”
For the building’s lobby entrance, Artist Piero Manrique painted a 2,000-square-foot bold colored, 3D mural called “Geometric Windows” that layers geometric shapes together. The abstract piece is on the wall next to the escalators that bring visitors from the first to the second floor of the building.
“I decided to come up with a very contemporary design that incorporated several cultures. I wanted people to feel invited to this piece so that it could be interactive – almost as if you could touch it or that you can be part of it,” Manrique said.
Originally from Peru, Manrique studied fine arts at Purchase College State University of New York before transferring to Parsons The New School for Design in New York and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2005. His work has been exhibited in galleries in the U.S. and Europe. In addition to designing commercial and residential murals, he also creates paintings on canvas, mixed-media, electronic art, sculptures and art for interior design. In addition to his passion for visual art, Piero is an avid salsa dancer and performer. He calls upon both his dance and architectural design sensibilities in creating his artwork.
The graphic design embodies the vibrancy and diversity of the city of White Plains, he added. “Each bold color block makes a strong impact upon the viewer by itself,” says Manrique. “Then, when layered on top of one another, these colored elements join together to form surprising new shapes and perspectives – similar to the dynamic diversity of the community’s individuals and activities that come together to create this modern city.”
“Our collaboration with Kite Realty Group is a great example of an arts and business partnership,” Langsam added. “Both works are key components of an overall renovation initiative that has refreshed City Center’s façade and interior, distinguishing the center as a community gathering space and Westchester destination.”
For more information about ArtsWestchester, visit artswestchester.org.
For more information on City Center at White Plains, visit shopatcitycenter.com