A Time to Reimagine

For Pittsburgh's residents and visitors, the annual illumination of the Tree of Lights marked the unofficial start of the holiday season. Despite being a well-loved icon of the city, the light display that stood on the edge of the Great Lawn in Point State Park for more than 30 years was retired earlier this year.

Duquesne Light Company (DLC), which gifted the tree to the city in 1988, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) agreed to remove the tree permanently due to its age and the reality that it did not meet evolving sustainability and land-usage goals. It was clear that this proud tradition needed to be reimagined so it could align more closely with DLC’s goal of “building a clean energy future for all.” However, DLC and DCNR did not make that joint decision without considering how it might affect the local community.

A plan is underway to replace the Tree of Lights with a new light display that is not just more ecologically sustainable, but also more inclusive in how it portrays the holiday season and Pittsburgh’s many diverse communities. The new display will hopefully become a symbol that reflects the modern values and goals of both DLC and the Pittsburgh region for generations to come. The question is: What will that display be?

To answer that, DLC decided to go straight to the people of Pittsburgh: “With world-renowned universities, research facilities and innovation centers, we’re fortunate to live in a region that has an abundance of creative and forward-looking thinkers. What better way to solve this challenge than by tapping into that collective innovative spirit?

With the help of HeroX, DLC created a challenge to crowdsource proposals for the new light display. The idea of asking for public submissions grew organically out of the community's passion for the Tree of Lights over its 30-plus-year history, and the firm belief that a new installation must fully represent the history and experiences of the people who live in the region.

With an abundance of exceptionally creative Pittsburghers from differing backgrounds and a total of $15,000 in cash prizes, DLC has high hopes that they will find the right replacement among the contest submissions.

The submission period is open until April 13, 2022, at 5 p.m. EDT, with the winners being announced on May 23, 2022. Visit the “Reimagining the Duquesne Light Company Tree of Lights” page on the HeroX website for more information.

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