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Story: Lighting Museum Spaces for Kids

This project comprised a press release and a video interview. I served as writer and video segment producer. 

Illuminating Young Minds through

Art and Light

DAVIE, Fla.  – A unique, newly redesigned art museum features 90 ILUMINARC® Ilumipod Logic Tri-1 interior lighting solutions in its main exhibit. Upon entering the museum—built for children and families to encourage education through art—the central piece, affectionately known as “the cave”, is part of one of the Young at Art Museum's four exhibits.


Designed by Chicago-based Architecture is Fun, Inc., the exhibits found in the LEED-certified museum focus on the joy of learning and discovery. Designed to not only capture attention but also engage young minds in the history of art, ArtScapes is the signature exhibit to the museum and home to the cave. The smooth structure of the cave “formed of wood elements [and] clad with super white, matte surfacing” captivates as colored light spills out of its entranceways. Once inside, a video display complemented by music and a mini rock show-like lighting display takes you on a visual journey of art through the ages.


“Art history begins with cave painting. Young at Art's framework is about creating an authentic experience, positioning a modern cave in which you view and become part of that timeline of art. As opposed to a pretend or scenic cave,” said Sharon Exley, president of Architecture Is Fun, Inc. “The cave is an enticing and entertaining destination, serving as metaphor, meeting place, orientation theatre, art-making space, and mini-classroom.”


The recess-mounted, fully-networked, LED-fitted ILUMINARC® Ilumipod Logic Tri-1 fixtures provide color-changing light that corresponds to an original score. Tracey Dear of Chicago-based Dear Productions designed the light show as well as served as co-writer of the music track.


“The exhibit goal is to sum up the history of art in about three minutes time,” said Dear. “It’s predominantly video content—from cave paintings to architecture—and music accompanied by lights that move, change color and strobe. The thought was to mimic a rock stage—like Queen at Wembley, but with small lights instead of PAR cans.”


The decision to incorporate LEDs was two-fold. The low-heat lights “networked and mounted in panels at every height” are ideal for small hands and bodies in an intimate space such as the cave, as well as the aforementioned LEED certification of the museum.


 “The RGB LEDs create an affordable, long-lasting source of mini-concert lighting, programmable and affordable, that spill out of the whiteness of the cave,” said Exley.  “[They lights are] safe enough to be touchled lightsed, fit within the wall’s shallow depth, vivid enough to counter the openness and flexible enough to match the massive video content.”


Additionally, they help with the overall design goal of education.


“Everything in the museum tells a story to children of responsibility and [their] role in our world,” said Exley. “[One of our] goals, critical to educational spaces for play and learning, is to make children aware of their environments, their choices, and to be concerned with beauty. The cave's physicality and emotive qualities position it as a frame and foil to the explorative art-making and social engagement that follows as young artists’ adventure through the museum. The lighting plays an enormous role in achieving that.”

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