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Lights & shadows

Patients, families and doctors pass in front of the interactive media wall at Boston Children’s Hospital as constellations reveal themselves from the motion of people. (Courtesy of Bill Pritchard)

Bill Pritchard is used to thinking big and outside the box.

And he feels that his art helps him tell stories.

Pritchard will be the first artist on display as part of Lighten Up Albuquerque.

The inaugural projection mapping festival kicks off on Friday, Jan. 3, and runs through Feb. 1.

Pritchard’s piece is called “Ecosystem Illuminated” and will be projected on the KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque.

Bill Pritchard

“It will be illuminating the front of the KiMo,” Pritchard says. “It’s going to be a celebration of the species in New Mexico while utilizing the textures that are found in the state.”

The festival is a collaboration with Electric Playhouse, City of Albuquerque and Epson.

A request for proposals went out to artists for the festival and six where chosen.

The artists are working with Electric Playhouse, which will expertly map and project artwork from a different artist onto a city building, monument, or other location with creations that express the themes of energy, light, community, sustainability and play.

Pritchard says he’s been daydreaming about a project like this.

“When I saw the RFP come out, I knew it was perfect,” he says. “Getting to highlight something Downtown is great. Then I get the opportunity to show my piece on a prominent and historical building.”

Pritchard’s life in art has been a journey.

He received his master’s degree from the University of Connecticut in 2015, where he studies digital media with a focus on interactive media and using technology.

Children play as abstracted shapes bounce and react to their movement and interactions with one another at Boston Children’s Hospital. (Courtesy of Bill Pritchard)

“I’ve had the privilege of working with technology with the intended way you use it,” he says. “I’ve gotten to do some great things with projection. Projection is the largest and technical tool that I utilize.”

Pritchard has been working on the piece for over a month.

He’s worked with projection projects in the past. Most recently, he did a piece for the Boston Children’s Hospital Interactive Media Wall.

“I wanted the (KiMo) piece to be a reminder of why we love the spaces we do,” he says. “Hopefully have people celebrate and enjoy what the world has to offer.”

Other artists chosen to participate in the fesitval are Katy Parsons, Britney King, Plant Dat, Brian Carlson and Morgan Barnard and Team Electric Playhouse.

Each winning artist will be awarded $250 to produce the piece as well as tickets to the Electric Playhouse grand opening.

Several visiting families play with an oversized musical instrument that responds to motion of guests at Boston Children’s Hospital. (Courtesy of Bill Pritchard)

For the festival, the city of Albuquerque has provided permitting for city-owned locations, along with additional assistance to the project, while Epson has generously provided equipment that includes four large-venue, high-lumen projectors with different lens options to accommodate various locations.

Epson is also providing key technical advice and support to produce the best results for the city.

“Even as we finish building an enormous all-ages playhouse on Albuquerque’s West Side, we continue to pursue a variety of ambitious creative visions,” Electric Playhouse CEO John-Mark Collins says. “We have projections at the new ‘Seeing Beyond’ exhibit at The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the world’s largest interactive sandbox at ZeroSpace in Midtown Manhattan, and are working on a mind-reading brain exhibit in Las Vegas, with more to come. Albuquerque is our home, however, and we’re producing our grandest event for the new year in the heart of the Duke City, with much gratitude to the city Of Albuquerque and to Epson for co-sponsoring.”

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