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Light sculpture planned for Figge Art Museum

 a drawing of how the light sculpture may look at the Figge Art Museum
Figge Art Museum
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a drawing of how the light sculpture may look at the Figge Art Museum

With help from a state grant and other fundraising, the Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport will finally be able to achieve a long-held dream. Plans are in the works to light up the outside of the building with a "public light sculpture."

Executive Director and CEO Michelle Hargrave says an internationally-known light artist, Leo Villareal, will design it, using 1,100 LED lights.

"He modifies the frequency of the lights, the colors, the intensity, and the way they pulsate in order to create different abstract images on his buildings. So in the lights themselves and the software program are able to achieve 2 million colors so it will be constantly changing."

Villareal has designed light sculptures around the world, including the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, Thames river bridges in London, and the High Trestle Bridge in Madrid, Iowa.

Hargrave says exterior lights were included in the original design of the Figge, but dropped due to cost overruns, which actually worked out well.

"Since the building was designed and built LED technology has come into play and has really made significant advancements. And so it's much more efficient, it's able to achieve more."

Completion of the light sculpture is set for 2025 - the 20th anniversary of the museum, and the 100th anniversary of the first gift to the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery which eventually became the Figge Art Museum.

Funding for the 4 million dollar project includes 1.6 million dollars from a Destination Iowa grant.

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