Adam Frelin Lights Up Downtown Troy with Shapeshift

The Arts Center of the Capital Region is excited to reveal Troy’s newest public art project, Shapeshift by renowned local artist Adam Frelin. Located above the plaza on River Street that leads down to Riverfront Park, Shapeshift is a temporary light art installation that will illuminate downtown until January 7, 2022.

Adam Frelin

Shapeshift resembles a stark “V” composed of LED neon lights, but the silhouette was designed specifically for the park entrance. Frelin focused on the basic shapes of the site, identifying a large square frame formed by the facades of the adjacent buildings and a smaller square in the rear. The angle of their rooflines receding toward a vanishing point—the position in space where parallel lines appear to converge—naturally implied an inverted triangle or “V.”

Suspended by a tethered aluminum frame, Shapeshift echoes the existing architecture and adds a new element to the site that changes with the viewer’s perspective. From River Street, it fills the negative space and shines against the backdrop of the Hudson River. From underneath, it operates as a dramatic directional device pointing at the viewer. From across the river, it could easily reference the flying formation of migrating geese. The understated simplicity of the project encourages speculation and interpretation.

Shapeshift is also a preview of The Troy Glow, a major lighting festival developed by The Arts Center in partnership with the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District that will open in winter 2022 in conjunction with the 40th annual Victorian Stroll. Using cutting edge technology, Frelin will lead a team of local artists to design and install a series of light artworks around downtown Troy. An open call to area artists to participate will be announced early next year.

Shapeshift was funded with lead support from the Troy Redevelopment Foundation, as well as the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Chet and Karen Opalka, Gwen Krause, and Judge Development.

Adam Frelin was the lead artist for the 2016 project Breathing Lights that highlighted abandoned buildings around the Capital Region. He is a resident of Troy and an associate professor of art at SUNY Albany.


The Arts Center of the Capital Region, on Monument Square in downtown Troy, is a 36,000 square foot fully-accessible studio, exhibition, and performing arts space. The Arts Center offers classes, exhibits, and programs serving 48,000 people a year drawn from an 11-county region surrounding Troy. The Arts Center is proud to serve as a regional arts center, known for its wide range of high-quality classes for adults and children, arts camps for children and teens, highly acclaimed exhibitions, funding, and technical support for arts organizations and artists.

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