Southern Lights will be a unique and contemplative lighting installation between the Blossom Street and Gervais Street bridges. This project offers an innovative approach to public art and public infrastructure and is designed to better connect our cities and the Midlands community.

Scheduled to be completed in 2018, organizers previewed the installation in celebration of the total solar eclipse.

The installation is being created by artist Chris Robinson. An Associate Professor of Studio Art in the School of Visual Art and Design at the University of South Carolina, he has blended art with science and technology throughout his career and he has previously created laser installations at the SC State Museum, along Columbia’s Main Street and the SC Statehouse as well as connecting monuments along the National Mall in Washington, DC.

This installation will involve argon ion lasers positioned on either side of the Gervais and Blossom Street bridges and will utilize mirrors to reflect the blue to green beams of focused light creating a sculptural piece of art that draws attention to interesting aspects of the surrounding environment and illuminates the magical quality of laser light. Once installed, the piece is expected to last between 8-10 years and be turned on after dusk each night for about three hours.

The project is a partnership of What’s Next Midlands, The Vista Guild, EdVenture, The SC State Museum, One Columbia for Arts and History and the City of Columbia. Support for Southern Lights has been provided by the City of West Columbia, the City of Cayce, Richland County, The City of Columbia and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.