lighting the park with The Friends of Blackstone and Franklin Square

In an ongoing effort to make our district's parks more safe, active and beautiful, Washington Gateway Main Street and Blackstone Franklin Sq. Neighborhood Assoc. recently partnered to bring artistic light installations to Blackstone and Franklin Sq. parks. Thank you to the Blackstone Franklin Sq. Neighborhood Assoc. and Capital One, WGMS Public Space Activation Partner, for helping make these art installations possible.


"Nimbus" lights up for the first time on Oct. 17

"Nimbus" lights up for the first time on Oct. 17

"Nimbus" is an artistic light installation created by artists Claudia Ravaschiere and Michael Moss. 26 orbs hover above the fountain and illuminate the park with various colors each night.

From the artists: "Our goal in making art for the public realm is to evoke a sense of discovery as people encounter the unexpected in a familiar space. We hope to rouse curiosity in passersby, increasing their capacity to observe what the park offers: a contemplative area to experience the green and the beauty of the earth in an urban setting.

We used the iconography of a cloud to create a sculptural light piece above the fountain in Franklin Park. We found our inspiration in one of NASA’s earliest environmental satellite programs, first launched in the mid-1960s, the Nimbus Satellite Missions. The Nimbus program and the data that was collected allowed scientists to measure the Earth’s radiation for the first time and observe solar radiation entering and exiting the Earth’s system. This was one of the most important scientific contributions of the Nimbus program as these observations helped to verify and refine the earliest climate models and observation of the polar ice caps. The Nimbus Program, initially launched to study the property of clouds and atmospheric changes, became one of the gateways to future studies on the Earth’s changing climate. This inspired us to pay homage to the Nimbus Program, to celebrate possibilities and the unexpected portals of discovery in our everyday lives.

The contribution of the Nimbus satellite program and the study of the data from these missions provide vital information on global warming today. We hope that by making reference to the this early program, those that encounter our “Nimbus” will be inspired to study further the history of this program, global warming and the importance of urban green space."

Washington Gateway Main Street would like to thank Claudia and Michael for creating such an innovative and impactful piece of art that will adorn our park and the arborists, Eric Whipple, Andrew Joslin and Sean O'Brien, who worked hard scaling the trees and setting the lines that suspend the artistic lighting.

View pictures from the "Nimbus" lighting event on October 17 here.


"Lights On The Square" by artist Ethan Vogt was the first of two light installations in the parks.

"Lights On The Square" by artist Ethan Vogt was the first of two light installations in the parks.

Hovering orbs and lights in the sky might conjure up ideas of ‘X Files’ proportions, but the lights and orbs over Blackstone and Franklin Square parks don’t lend themselves so much to conspiracy theories as they do safety and security after dark.

The Friends of Blackstone and Franklin Squares and the Washington Gateway Main Street partnered to bring creative light displays to the Blackstone Square and Franklin Square parks along Washington Street.

The lighting is a cooperative effort with all of the groups and the Neighborhood Association to create a better environment after dark. It continues an effort started in 2016 where dramatic, colored lighting was used temporarily to brighten the mood in Franklin Square.

"Lights On The Square" was the first of the two light installations. Created by artist Ethan Vogt, the idea is as simple as it is exciting. We are enthusiastic to have the lights up in the warmer times of the year to produce a cool environment that people can come out and enjoy. Part of the reason to have the lighting and heavier use after dark is to promote a safer situation and curb the criminal activity that sometimes unfurls in the Squares.

That is particularly true in Franklin Square, where the friends and the Neighborhood Association have worked diligently to create programming and unique displays to activate that Square.