After a particularly successful opening in downtown Tampa of projected videos, lights, and installations as part of the city’s Lights on Tampa Initiative. Artist friends from USF started to wonder what if a similar light show happened where we actually lived? How would our neighborhoods be transformed? Would we welcome strangers into our yards? Could our private space become public? Would a smaller, less produced event work? Would anyone watch?
The first Neighborhood Watch: Projection Walk enlisted the help of part of Tampa’s Seminole Heights Neighborhood in 2006. Instead of watching for intruders, strangers, and outsiders, we solicited neighbors to welcome them onto lawns and streets and alleys and watch videos, play video games, and see the lights projected onto the surfaces of homes and spaces in a neighborhood. Our projected art event is similar in spirit to the phenomena of civic sponsored light and projection events, mixed with the American classic drive-in theater, a twist of grassroots community organization, and a dash of neighborly affection.