EnLIGHTen: First-of-its-kind free concert in Buffalo Friday

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — There’s never been anything quite like it before in Western New York. On Friday night, you can experience a very unusual free outdoor concert in Buffalo, co-sponsored by Channel 4, WIVB-TV.

It’s called EnLIGHTen — a dramatic light show projected on the historic towers of the Richardson Olmsted Complex, while the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performs live on the building’s south lawn.

The artists of PROJEX, who grew up around the Buffalo area, are going to transform the towers into a spectacular work of art. They’re using video mapping and twelve BAV projectors.

PROJEX artist and projectionist Keith Harrington says, “It’s basically like a painter paints on canvas, we paint with video.”

The canvas for this visual feast — and the inspiration for this first of its kind event on Friday — is the 145 year old Richardson Olmsted Complex.  Built as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, the building has found a remarkable new life as Hotel Henry, a conference center, and more.

“And it’s been one of the biggest historical preservation projects in the nation at this point,” says Christine Krolewicz, project manager of the Richardson Olmsted Campus. “So, I think it’s a great symbol for Buffalo’s whole renaissance.

Friday’s free EnLIGHTen concert, on the lawn of the Richardson Olmsted Campus, is a gift to the surrounding community; a thank you for helping to save this local treasure, and for sticking with the long renovation process.

“And we just want to say thank you to the community for being there with us,” says Krolewicz, “and we’re so excited to celebrate.”

The celebration will be unique in the world. No one has ever done before what the computer-driven PROJEX team has been working on for a full year.

Artist Keith Harrington describes the project: “We’re going to take projectors and we’re going to project them on the west and south sides of the building and the towers and completely cover this building with video projections.”

“This building is so beautiful, it’s so unique,” says Erin Habes, PROJEX project manager. “And, the fact that we’re doing two sides of the building and video projecting on two sides is actually very rare.”

Also rare, the show is set to nine musical selections to be performed live on the lawn by the Buffalo Philharmonic. Each selection conveys a different chapter in the building’s long history here in buffalo and the visuals have been painstakingly animated to match the music.

“If the piece is undulating — slow movement. If the piece reaches a big crescendo — fast movement. All in time with the music,” says Seth Hughes, PROJEX, chief animator.

Danielle Matyevich is also an animator. “This grand scale of animation and light mapping has never been done. And to be a part of this team is really exciting.”

There is a sense of excitement about the hour-long experience that the artists, the building, the BPO, and the audience will share. It’s a uniquely Buffalo experience unfolding around a stunning sentinel from our past — and now our future.

“We hope people will walk away with a beautiful sense and appreciation for what we have here in Buffalo,” says project manager Erin Habes.

“It’s a true honor,” says artist Keith Harrington. “I feel blessed. There’s no doubt about it.”


The concert starts at 9 p.m. and will last one hour — but it’s best to get there early to avoid a traffic snarl. Perhaps pack a picnic, bring a blanket or lawn chair and be prepared to pick up after yourself. Parking is free in any of the SUNY Buffalo State lots, but be aware it is still a hike from those lots to the concert site on the south lawn near Forest Avenue. Some handicapped parking is available — enter off Elmwood at the light between Rockwell and Forest Avenue. This is a drug and alcohol free, family-friendly event. Animals, bicycles, grills and drones are not permitted. Portable toilets will be available. The raindate is Sunday, July 30 at 9 p.m. For more information: Click here. 

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