Aurora to light up East Colfax with a $200,000 public art project

Categories: Art

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Leni Schwendinger
Coming to Colfax?
East Colfax is about to get lit, and not in the drunken way it usually gets lit. With a cool $200,000 in federal grant money burning a hole in its pocket, the City of Aurora is launching a public art project that aims to create a permanent light installation for the Colfax corridor between Dallas and Florence streets -- it's currently taking applications for the job. And once the project is completed (the city is aiming for September on that), Public Art Manager Deana Miller envisions a light festival, just like the ones in Paris.

"One of the things that we want to do is plan a festival around the unveiling," Miller says. "For example, Tampa has a light festival called Lights on Tampa that's really successful; in Sydney there's one called Smart Light, and they do monthly Light Walks -- instead of an Art Walk. These are all kind of modeled on the Nuit Blanche (White Night) in Paris, which his kind of spread around the world. So those are some examples of what we're trying to accomplish on East Colfax."

Miller doesn't yet know who will take the reigns of the project -- "We want an artist-led design team, and it has to be a combination between the lead creator and anyone who's experienced with outdoor lighting," she says; as of now, the city is taking applications, which will be followed by a process of interviews and committees and various threads of red tape, as any government project must be. But she personally digs the work of Leni Schwendinger and Bill Fitzgibbons, and she says the city will be looking for something along those lines.

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Leni Leni Schwendinger light installation at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, NY
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"Light Channels" by Bill Fitzgibbons, light installation in downtown San Antonio, TX.
But anyone who thinks they have the chops is welcome to apply. In the meantime, the city is getting ready to throw its Fire Arts Festival/Art on the Fax, complete with vendors, live bands, interactive activities and a live iron pour beginning on May 13, so stay tuned for that.

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