“Illuminate Delaware” was a Memorial Day weekend lighting action – the brainchild of John DiEleuterio, Wilmington DE resident and sales / project manager for dry hire company Main Light industries – hatched to deliver some special visual magic for local communities whilst saluting essential workers as well as fallen US military personnel.
After months of Covid-19 lockdown, economic uncertainty and general anxiety, John proposed the lighting of several landmark buildings in Wilmington and state capital Dover to bring positive energy and fun into the environment that could be enjoyed by all citizens. He took his idea to Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and his team who fully embraced the initiative, so John started his action plan.
The event entailed the illumination of six prominent buildings, three of which – The Old State House and the Governor’s official residence ‘Woodburn Mansion’, both in Dover and the distinctive spire of St. Anthony’s of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington – were all lit using Astera AX5 TriplePAR wireless LED fixtures.
Kit for lighting all buildings was supplied by Main Light Industries working closely with Electro Sound Systems (ESS), and John energized a volunteer crew of dedicate technicians and others equally passionate about lighting to deliver this visual treat!
The illuminations encouraged people to come out of their houses and drive around the observation areas, some for the first time in months, to see areas of their cities in a different light. Social media lit up and it brought the cities of Dover and Wilmington a much needed feelgood factor.
The buildings were lit in blue for frontline / essential workers for three nights and then on the Monday Memorial Day evening, the color scheme shifted to red, white and blue to honor all the soldiers who have died in the line of duty. The six pop-up lighting schemes installed just for the weekend were joined in the action by other buildings around the cities of Wilmington and Dover which already have permanent architectural lighting.
John loves the idea of lighting buildings and had long dreamed about illuminating some of these structures. When the project was green-lighted to go ahead, he also enjoyed the 6-week planning / execution period together with everyone else involved on the ground. “It made everyone feel alive with camaraderie, creativity and a real sense of purpose recapturing some of the spirit of this amazing industry in which we live and work!” he stated.
Main Light Industries has a large rental inventory of Astera fixtures including AX5 TriplePARs, AX1 tubes and Titan Tubes, and the AX5s with their practicality, power and rich colors were perfect for the job.
The trickiest of the three Astera-lit buildings to light was the steeple of St Anthony’s – an attractive Romanesque revival-style building in the Little Italy area of Wilmington. The church is also well known for its annual week-long Italian Festival in June, which was cancelled this year due to the pandemic.
Twenty-four AX5s were ensconced within the steeple’s bell tower – all manually carried up the tiny, winding internal staircase – and another 21 x AX5s were rigged on pipes-and-bases positioned on the roof of a school opposite. All of these were run wired from local power supplies … and some imagination had to be applied in the deployment process to get them into precise and correct positions to light the tower evenly and effectively.
During the first three nights of being lit blue, every hour the St Anthony’s lights went into a red, green, and white scene in recognition of the Italian flag. Lighting for this site was run by Dale Mahoney and Chris Gentile – Dale designed, and Chris programmed on a grandMA Command Wing.
Ryan Morris coordinated everything for the other two locations in Dover – the State House and Governor’s Mansion. He utilized 16 x AX5s for the State House, twelve on the ground and four in the pagoda-style roof feature. Eight AX5s on the ground in front of the building grazing up the front façade did a great job of highlighting Woodburn, the Governor’s Mansion.
These were all run wirelessly and programmed using the Astera IR remote. Each day they were taken indoors and recharged before being re-positioned to run from dusk to dawn. John has long been an Astera fan, and actually owns some AX3 Litedrops which he rents out to his friends for parties and functions. “They are highly effective, robust and practical products … and were perfect for this type of lighting event.”
Illuminate Delaware – the first time anything like this has been done at local or state level – was a massive success. It delighted local residents and businesses to see some of the buildings with which they are so familiar in a different context.
It was also an emotional moment. “It was a fantastic opportunity for our community to unite and celebrate our environment differently, in addition to appreciating the incredible efforts of those who have battled on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic plus all those who have died in military conflicts and whilst on duty serving the country,” stated John.
“I was extremely proud of what myself and the crew achieved as a team. There are so many incredible people in our fantastic industry making it rock, and we all stand together as we try to come through this challenging time!”
Mayor Purzycki commented, “We are all trying to cope with troubling news these days, and I’m especially pleased that John and his fellow lighting and event industry professionals have taken the initiative to brighten everyone’s mood. This is just the kind of positive event that we all need right now.”
Other partner companies involved in Illuminate Delaware included Wake Media, Spaceboy Clothing and BEW Productions, and John’s dedicated and “wonderful” crew – in addition to the three mentioned above – included Jaimie Watts, Tom Manchester, Gene Proud, Kris Axelsson, Scott Nye, Mile O’Neal, Mike Yarabinee, Pat Fahy, Rachel Suga, Aidas Gimbutas, Joe Naylor and Robe Hendry.
For more info check on Astera LED website
Text by Astera