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"Breathing Lights" installed in zombie homes

SCHENECTADY--"It's turning every building into a creature, a living being in a place where some of these have been sort of left to die in a way," said Breathing Lights artist Adam Frelin.

It's not yet halloween, but zombie properties scare off potential buyers all year round.

A temporary public art project is working to shed light on the chronic issue by breathing life into hundreds of abandoned homes in Albany, Schenectady, and Troy.

"With hundreds of these illuminated, it's referencing a life force that exists beneath our entire region that's coming out in these nodes and hopefully some people will see these spaces as having potential,": said Frelin.

Titled "Breathing Lights," the art installation aims to engage neighbors and illuminate the opportunity in each property for redevelopment.

"The effect itself has a warming quality to it that invites people towards places that they might not normally go toward," Frelin said.

The two month exhibit comes at the same time Governor Cuomo is tackling the plague of neglected buildings across the state with a regulation to hold banks and mortgage services accountable for maintaining them during the foreclosure process.

"The distressed property drives up the cost because people aren't paying taxes on it, you get police and fire calls, just a general nuisance that it creates, and it also devalues the property adjacent to it" said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.

Capital Region leaders say they hope drawing these properties from the shadows with art will make them harder to ignore.

"We pass by vacant buildings all the time, and we don't slow down and look at them, I think the lights make you slow down and look at the building," said Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.

"As having a story to tell, and as a place of life, not as a place that is distressed or blighted, but as a place where there is hope, there's hope for a future," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

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