2017 Program

In 2017, enLIGHTen featured a 60-minute concert performed by your BPO. The concert spotlighted the historical function of the Richardson as a place of healing by featuring music by famous composers who lived with mental illness and created great works, including Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Handel, among others.

The work of artists PROJEX was projected onto the Towers Building as the concert unfolded.

The story opens as an homage to the stately Richardson and the fertile 100-acres of land upon which it sits. The audience is invited to immerse themselves in this sleeping giant’s story.

The “grand old oak tree” plays a uniquely central role in our story. Having stood sentry over the Richardson and surrounding land for more than 145 years, this tree serves as the mighty symbol of nature’s endurance over time and evolving landscape. Lighting designers John Rickus and Carlie Todoro-Rickus will help us create a luminous experience on the Richardson Olmstead Campus. This will serve to further submerse the audience into the enLIGHTen experience.

Each composition projected onto the Richardson moves our story forward, melding eventually into the 40-year dormant period. An intrinsic chapter in the complex’s history, the building sat bleakly shuttered and empty for decades, a mysterious centerpiece to the surrounding community. Sparked by preservationists’ fervor, the building was saved and its rebirth was given flight.

The energy of the preservation process has sparked a burst of creativity. Accompanying the musical compositions, PROJEX brings to life collaborations between local artists from both the past and present, from the works of Charles Burchfield to the artistry of Julian Montague.


A “visual feast” for thousands of people to see!


Movement #1  – “A Royal Celebration”

Handel, Music for the Royal Fireworks Movement 1

Regal visuals fill the Richardson in its beauty, with spotlights and sparkle. The building’s architecture is highlighted and enLIGHTen is introduced to the crowd.


Movement #2 –  Beauty on the Inside

Tchaikovsky, Waltz from Swan Lake

PROJEX romances the design elements found inside and outside the Richardson. This piece is inspired by every detail from the tile patterns in the floor to the wallpaper. Giving the public a glimpse of what has remained hidden for decades.


Movement #3 – “Hundred Acres, featuring Charles Burchfield’s work”

Satie, Gymnopedie #1

Through Charles Burchfield’s landscapes, we touch upon the enLIGHTend approach to the treatment of patients and mental illness at the Richardson.


Movement #4 – “40 Years Dormant”

Berlioz, Roman Carnival Overture

An intrinsic chapter in the complex’s history, the building sat bleakly shuttered and empty for decades. Sparked by preservationists’ fervor, the building is saved and its rebirth is given flight.


Movement #5 – “Noodle in The Northern Lights Remixed”

Mural by Jessie and Katey

Commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Public Art Initiative, 2016

A collaboration with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and mural artists Jessie and Katey, this piece symbolizes the rebirth of our city in splashes of color and form. The mural is located on Tupper Street in downtown Buffalo.


Movement #6 – “A Beautiful Mind”

Rachmaninoff, Vocalise

This piece celebrates the beautiful and creative minds of the mentally ill patients of the Richardson.


Movement #7 – “Radiant Beams”

By Julian Montague

Beethoven, Symphony #5 First Movement

In one of the earliest reviews of Beethoven’s Fifth, music critic E. T. A. Hoffmann described the piece with this imagery: “Radiant beams shoot through this region’s deep night, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy everything within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up in jubilant tones sinks and succumbs…”

In my approach to the moving graphics for the piece I take inspiration from this description, but I end up leaning more towards the light than the darkness and longing.


Movement  #8 – “Symphony”

Mahler, Adagietto from Symphony #5

enLIGHTen culminates as we celebrate the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Swirling musical notes paint the Richardson’s façade leading to a live camera feed of the orchestra projected on the building.


Movement #9 – “Grande Finale”

Mussorgsky-Ravel, Pictures at an Exhibition Hut on Fowl’s Legs and Great Gate

The finale celebrates the magnificence’s of the building and its architecture and concludes with a colorful burst of visuals on the building.