TAMPA - For lighting artist, Tracey Dear, the Tampa project was a very tight deadline. He began work in April and finished just over two weeks from the start of the Republican Convention.
"First thing that struck me was how dark it was down here you know, so when I was asked by the City to create a lighting design, I knew they were going to look spectacular" said the Chicago based artist.
Tracey Dear uses light to paint bridges and the water that flows beneath them. The spans across the Hillsborough River are a familiar canvas for Dear who lit the bridges and other landmarks of downtown Chicago.
"I love them. They're beautiful. I love how silent they are and how they move and how finely balanced they are. It's a pleasure to highlight them" said Dear.
The January announcement by Mayor Bob Buckhorn that Tampa would have it's own lighting project called Agua Luces, set off a race to find funding, secure an artist and complete the installation by the time the RNC Convention came to town. With just hours before the Friday evening lighting ceremony, adjustments are still being made to the hundreds of ever changing LED bulbs that will both glow and project images on the bridges and the water.
Dear brings an eclectic background to the project as a lighting designer for musical performers including Elvis Costello and Nancy Griffith. He's a performer himself with the Chicago based alt country band the Waco Brothers.
But this creative outlet inspires a more contemplative response. Dear hopes his lighting will help people see and appreciate something that's been there to enjoy all along.
"When I did Chicago's (bridge lighting), I found people all of a sudden instead of rushing around crossing the bridges they stayed and pondered a while. It causes people to reflect a little bit and I hope that people do that with the Riverwalk.
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Plenty of sunshine with high humidity, but low chances for an afternoon shower or storm inland.