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Dark Alley No More: Shimmering Display Turns Downtown Passageway Into Art

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- No dark alleyway here.

Instead, a shimmering display of LED lights has turned Garrison Place, off the 900 block of Liberty Avenue Downtown, into an attention-getter for people passing through.

The lights are actually connected to a weather station, so they move and dance based on how windy it is. It's called Garrison Canal.

"It really kind of feels like, particularly at night, like you're immersed in water," said Jeremy Waldrup, of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. "So, it's kind of the flow of energy, and Garrison Place is a cool alleyway on its own, and this makes it even better."

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Bryce Lutz)

It's done by Andrea Polli, the same artist who lighted the Rachel Carson Bridge with a dazzling display that was supposed to last four months but was kept for 17 months because it was so popular.

Chris Clavio is part of the artist's team who made Garrison Canal happen, and he hopes it intrigues people.

"Wow. This is pretty cool. What's that? What happens there? What are these lights doing? Did somebody program it? Is it reacting to something? There's a lot of questions there," said Clavio.

It's not the first time the partnership has gussied up an alley.

A mural on the ground and chairs and tables has turned Strawberry Way into one of the most Instagrammed sites in Pittsburgh.

Now there's Garrison Canal, and they'd like to do something special in eight other alleys.

"We're really just trying to create interesting spaces in Downtown Pittsburgh," said Waldrup. "We want folks to be pleasantly delighted when they turn around and look down an alleyway, like 'Who's doing this?'"

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