Particle Falls: Downtown Public Art Light Installation

 The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in partnership with the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center and Clean Air Carolina will sponsor a multi-story public art light installation in downtown Winston-Salem beginning Thursday, February 22 and ending March 24.  The display is free and open to the public.  Best viewing is the corner of West 4th Street and Spruce Street any evening from February 22 – March 24 beginning at dusk. 

“Over the last several years, public art light shows in downtown Winston-Salem have entertained and captivated diverse audiences.  It’s an accessible art form for the entire community that can engage dialogue on current issues such as the environment and its effects on our health.  This display – Particle Falls – is one the community will not want to miss,” said Jim Sparrow, President and CEO of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

The installation created by artist Andrea Polli is an animated, colorful light projection that will reflect real-time air quality on West 4th Street using a scientific air monitoring device, specialized computer software, and a high-powered light projector.  Colored lights projected on the eight-story, west wall of the Stevens Center represent the amount of harmful particle pollution in the air at any given moment.

Polli, professor of art and ecology at the University of New Mexico, describes the piece as “a large-scale public art installation that acts as a monitor, an alarm and a thing of beauty all at the same time by using particulate air pollution as a basis for a cascading waterfall/lightshow flowing down the side of a building.”

Volunteers will be on-site on Thursday through Saturday evenings to engage the public about the projection and inform them about more environmentally friendly transportation options available in the Triad and across the state.

The public is invited to attend an Artist Talk and Panel Discussion on Friday, February 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, 251 N. Spruce Street.  The artist, Andrea Polli will discuss her work “Particle Falls.”  Panelists will include David Finn, Artist, Professor of Art, WFU & Chair of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Public Art Commission; June Blotnick, Executive Director, Clean Air Carolina; Dr. Stephanie Dance-Barnes, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, WSSU; and Wendell Hardin, Sustainability Manager, City of Winston-Salem.  This event is free and open to the public.  RSVPs are requested to

The installation will complement Clean Air Carolina’s NC BREATHE conference that will be held March 8 at Wake Forest University Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education.  The conference is free for students and $25 for individuals.  Learn more about the conference at

“Particle Fall” has been displayed internationally most notably in Paris at the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change.  The Winston-Salem installation is sponsored by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, Clean Air Carolina, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, Flow Motors, Grubb Properties, Hanesbrands Inc., and the Piedmont Environmental Alliance, with funding from North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Learn more at and interact on social media using #PARTICLEFALLSWS.

About Andrea Polli

Andrea Polli, professor of art and ecology at the University of New Mexico, is an environmental artist working at the intersection of art, science and technology.  Her interdisciplinary research has been presented as public artworks, media installations, community projects, performances, broadcasts, mobile and geolocative media, publications, and through the curation and organization of public exhibitions and events.  She creates artworks designed to raise awareness of environmental issues.  Often these works express scientific data obtained through her collaborations with scientists and engineers and have taken the form of sound art, vehicle-based works, public light works, mobile media experiences, and bio-art and design.

About the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center is part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University and advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, visit: Twitter: @NCCleanTech

About Clean Air Carolina

Founded in 2003 by a group of volunteers determined to improve the quality of Mecklenburg County’s air, Clean Air Carolina now champions statewide initiatives to improve North Carolina’s air quality to exceed that of current federal standards.  Energized by the research-proven fact that even the smallest air pollutants are toxic to our health, and by the urgency of pollution-induced climate change, Clean Air Carolina is committed to advancing its mission of ensuring cleaner air quality for all North Carolinians through education and advocacy and by working with its partners to reduce sources of pollution.

For more information about Clean Air Carolina, visit: Twitter: @cleanairNC

About Piedmont Triad Regional Council

The Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) is a voluntary association of local governments – urban and rural – serving 74 municipalities and counties. PTRC serves the region by administering programs related to aging, criminal justice, housing, regional planning, SBA lending, workforce development, and more. The Planning Department serves as a planning resource by using an interdisciplinary approach to develop creative solutions to complex local and regional planning issues, with an emphasis on the environmental, social, and economic well-being of the Piedmont Triad Region.  For more information about Piedmont Triad Regional Council, visit: Twitter: @PTRCPlanningEcD

About the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

Winston-Salem, known as a City of Arts and Innovation, and Forsyth County have a robust arts community that enriches the lives of area residents every day and accounts in large part for the recognition they continue to receive as a great place to live, learn, work and play.  The Arts Council raises funds and advocates for the arts, sponsors events in conjunction with other arts organizations, promotes and funds arts education, creates cultural and learning opportunities, develops social capital and aids economic development.  For more information about the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, visit:  Twitter: @ArtsCouncilWS.


For more information contact:

Dara Silver
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

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