Interactive installation Heartbeat ATL lights up Centennial Yards

heartbeat atl centennial yards
Heartbeat ATL is located in Centennial Yards, formerly known as The Gulch. (Courtesy of DASH.Studio and Dustin Chambers)

A new sparkle is brightening the Atlanta cityscape for the next several days. Heartbeat ATL is an interactive light-based art installation located at Centennial Yards in downtown Atlanta. This dynamic light experience is in an area previously known as The Gulch and will fill the neighborhood with dazzling color until March 4. Centennial Yards President Brian McGowen and Courtney Hammond, the creative director of DASH, joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to give a sense of what this bright new spectacle signals for the heart of Atlanta.

The Heartbeat ATL installation marks the beginning of a transformation for its space in the former Gulch area. McGowan said the city is breaking ground in 2022 on new buildings that will develop the formerly abandoned railyard turned parking lot into a lively downtown destination.

McGowan’s team reached out to the creators at DASH for ideas on how artwork might be able to invite the community into the space that, until now, looked to many like a hollowed-out eyesore. “One of the sessions, someone on CIM, Centennial Yards’ team, said something quite poetic. They said, ‘You know, it feels somewhat like a heart has been scooped out, and that’s what’s missing.’ And I did think that was beautiful,” said Hammond. “That was a really lovely prompt … to create an ability for Atlantans to collectively defibrillate that heart back to life and signal that something is coming.”

heartbeat atl centennial yards
The Heartbeat ATL interactive installation in Centennial Yards. (Courtesy of DASH.Studio and Dustin Chambers)

Inspired by a sense of disconnection during the last two years’ pandemic and a collective desire to share love and warmth, DASH’s “Heartbeat ATL” design fills Centennial Yards with rainbows.

“The piece is designed to be seen from above,” said Hammond. “You’ll see a rainbow display of gorgeous color in the parking lot that symbolizes breathing as if it was a torso.” She continued, “If you scan the QR codes located all along the bridge, you will see a heart pop up on your phone, and that heart, you press it, and it will create the entire light show.”

Visitors’ interactions will “breathe” life into six beating heart sculptures throughout the display.

More information about “Heartbeat ATL” can be found at Follow the progress of new developments at Centennial Yards at