Around the holidays, New York City explodes with even more lights than we're used to. Generally this is agreed to be a good thing. People like it. Millions flock from miles away to snap pictures. It's pretty cool.

But many of those lights have nothing to do with the individual. They're just hanging there, shining all pretty. Now there's a public installation designed to change all that. 

Opening today, December 2nd, Luminaries is an installation of 650 glowing LED boxes hanging from the interior ceiling of the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place.

It's no Christmas tree, it's not really even a "holiday" design. It's just beautiful, but things get interesting when visitors approach the three "wishing stations." 

On-lookers become participants as Luminaries is an interactive installation. 

People can "wish" a color using available touch screens, which in turn send that color out across the luminaries. There are also a series of light shows for Luminaries, including titles like "Firecracker" and "Snowball."


Artist David Rockwell says he created Luminaries to "acknowledge a human presence." Being that people can "curate" the lighting design through "wishes," it appears Rockwell's been successful with that endeavor. 

But the holiday vibe is present, albeit not on the surface. Brookfield Arts, which commissioned Rockwell for the piece, is partnered with the Grammy Foundation to contribute $1 per "wish," topping off at $25,000.

The proceeds are to be donated to Grammy Foundation high school music programs throughout NYC. So yes, the first 25,000 "wishes" support New Yorkers learning music, which is really the expression of human presence. 

grammyfdn A new holiday tradition will debut soon at @brookfieldplny: #LuminariesNYC, supporting our GRAMMY in the Schools programs! Guests will have the opportunity to send a "wish" into a mesmerizing display of colors and for every wish sent, @artsbrookfield will donate $1 up to $25,000 to GRAMMY Foundation! #musiced #musiceducation

So Rockwell's goal of acknowledging human presence will actually be funding later expression, and that's a holiday light display everyone can get behind.

Last night, Rockwell and singer Meghan Trainor, cast the first "wishes," kicking off the installation which will be open to the public through January 10th. 

Check out the timelapse footage of Luminaries below, and be sure to make a wish to support NYC high school music programs.

Check out 7 Facts You Need to Know About Tonight's Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting.  

[via New York Magazine] [Feature Image Courtesy] 

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