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Graduate Thesis Project for a proposed projection show in downtown Savannah, Georgia.

Savannah, Georgia is a town of church bells and cobblestones, of hidden gardens and horse drawn carriages. It is a town with a slow drawl and a long memory, where the humidity hangs just below the Spanish moss. For all that it is, Savannah is a town drenched in story.

Savannah is a moment in time preserved for guests to experience, but it has a special energy vibrating beneath the surface that keeps this time capsule thriving. This, after all, is the city that was too beautiful for General Sherman to burn. This jewel of the south begs for new ways to share its old stories, something that respects its history and charm. The only way to light up the city, even temporarily, is not with hammers and nails but with pixels and light. The only way is through a digital transformation rather than a physical one.

Savannah would benefit greatly from a projection show, a nightly spectacle playing across downtown buildings, one similar to projection shows popping up in cities around the world.


The most logical place to propose a show like this is the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, a massive hotel that sits across the river from Savannah’s historic downtown. The building is highly visible from almost anywhere along River Street. Its position and orientation make it a near perfect canvas for painting spectacular stories with light and sound.

River Street has nearly 4,000 ft. of waterfront viewing space, and the Westin can be seen from all of it. There are certainly prime viewing locations, such as on the backside of the River Street Marketplace, but there are also surprising and tucked away places to view the show. The area provides optimal traffic flow, as well as multiple ways in and out.

It would make use of every physical asset the area has to offer — the broad river could support fountains and show barges.

NightLight: Westin fountains

And the wide open skyline is perfect for fireworks and lighted smoke effects.

NightLight: Westin

The show itself should be unique to, and uniquely Savannah, telling Savannah’s story, in whatever form that may be. There are many angles to take — the history of its colonial founding, the squares, the architecture, the Spanish moss lined boulevards, pirates, war, voodoo, churches, ghosts — the list just goes on and on. It would be musically driven, something with a tangible story arc, if not narratively then at least emotionally, and still feel like it belongs to Savannah.

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