Last month, the San Diego Art Institute’s Museum of the Living Artist received a grant from the City of San Diego and San Diego Gas and Electric via the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant provided the SDAI’s Museum of the Living Artist approximately $170,000 in response to a light-and-fixture proposal. The museum is currently using the money to convert all halogen light bulbs to colored LEDs.
Timothy Field, the museum’s executive director, explained that the use of true color LEDs reduces the cost of lighting fivefold. In addition, LEDs rival the old halogen lights in providing a true color spectrum, which is necessary in museum lighting.
With the new light fixtures, the museum is no longer limited to having all the lights on or off. The lights are sectioned into 17 clusters, all of which can be independently controlled to highlight special exhibits and create more intensity during events.
The larger structure with portholes of LED lights was designed by Field and a contracted electrician. The structure, made of two movable pieces that may be raised, lowered, dimmed, and controlled by a keypad, will be suspended over the atrium to showcase installations and digital art, which will be a first for the museum.
“Kids will be able to control the keypad and change the colors of the lights,” Field said.
The museum is open during the renovations and the project is expected to reach completion in a month.