The sculptural luminary pictured in the photo is This Little Light of Mine, the signature piece at the center of the newly opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. This Little Light of Mine is a big deal for Transformit.
We were hired to build and install This Little Light of Mine and it was an honor to contribute to this museum celebrating Mississippi's civil rights movement, a movement that changed the nation. Plus, this project, with its artistic intent, myriad of technical integrations within a fabric structure, and design and installation challenges, was an exceptionally good creative fit for our company.
The galleries of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum don’t shy away from difficult truths. The museum’s exhibits also bring forward stories of hope, courage and action—stories of individuals who took a stand for good and made a difference. To unify the visitor’s journey through the museum around these beacons of hope and the knowledge that every person has the capacity to change the world for better, the museum’s exhibit designer, Hilferty & Associates of Athens, Ohio, designed the galleries to encircle a soaring, light-filled, central space and a stunning multi-media sculptural luminary of their design, This Little Light of Mine.
Suspended in the center of the museum in a dramatic fifty-foot tall circular gallery, This Little Light of Mine is illuminated from within by 6,000 LED lights that were installed by Communications Electrical Design (CED) of Louisville, Kentucky. Wrapped in a holographic fabric skin, the sculpture sparkles with a light show that dances through its ribbons, while songs of the Civil Rights movement emanate from speakers hidden within.
As museum visitors enter and leave the central gallery, This Little Light of Mine responds in kind. When the central gallery is quiet, the sculpture is quiet, the lights are soft and their motion is calm. But when someone enters the gallery, the sculpture comes to life, slowly. To begin, the solo voice of a young girl singing the song “This Little Light of Mine” drifts through the air. As more people enter the gallery, more voices join in singing, culminating in a rousing gospel choir filling the heights of the central atrium. The lights too respond to the motions of the people in the room below, moving in waves through the ribbons of the sculpture in a cadence reflective of the activity in the gallery. This innovative responsive program of the luminary was developed by Monadnock Media of Hatfield, Massachusetts.
Transformit’s design sensibilities, technical expertise, and 30+ years of experience creating with fabric enabled all the components envisioned for this piece to be unified within this stunning sculptural light. Not only was a fabric structure uniquely suited to this project, Transformit was uniquely prepared to usher a collaborative project of this scale from design to installation with the artistic vision and intent for the project intact.
To begin with, we are a team of artists. When we approach a project, whether it’s of our own design or someone else’s, such as Hilferty & Associates’ This Little Light of Mine, we are contemplating the work through the lens of the artist, attuned to the form and emotional expression of the piece. Additionally, we bring to the design and fabrication conversations the expertise of experienced installers, machinists, stitchers and designers who possess the talents appropriate to translate the artistic expression with integrity into a built and installed piece.
"All the refinements Transformit brought to the design…really have proven to be great instincts from your team that really have helped to make (This Little Light of Mine) sing.” Hilferty & Associates
And we’re creative collaborators. This Little Light of Mine brought us together with an exceptional team of creative and technical partners—Hilferty & Associates; Exhibit Concepts of Vandalia, Ohio; Monadnock Media; and CED—with each partner bringing their unique contribution to the realization of Hilferty & Associates’ vision for a fabric luminary sculpture that sings.
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi opened its doors to the public on December 9, 2017. In the first two months since opening, the museum has welcomed more than 60,000 visitors. To learn more about the museum and to plan your visit (which we encourage you to do), start here: https://mcrm.mdah.ms.gov