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Posted: April 28, 2016 Expert to lend his talent to Phoenix Park bridge lighting project

Jason Anderson satisfies his passion for designing lighting projects by traveling the globe, helping put on acclaimed music festivals in such locations as Trinidad, the island of St. Lucia, Poland and elsewhere.

Now the assistant director of conferences and event production at UW-Eau Claire will use his talents to help light the Phoenix Park pedestrian bridge in downtown Eau Claire.

The Eau Claire Noon Rotary Club, Downtown Eau Claire Inc., Anderson and some of the lighting students he teaches have partnered to light the bridge, an effort to attract people to downtown at night by adding creative luminescence at the site.

“Usually I have to travel the world to do these kinds of creative projects,” Anderson said, “and I am so excited to be able to do this kind of work right here in Eau Claire.”

Anderson said the effort will involve adding 304 light fixtures to the landmark bridge, highlighting the distinctive appearance of its trusses. When complete, the project will allow the bridge to not only be bathed in multiple hues but in movable waves of color able to move horizontally or vertically, he said, for use in nightly light shows.

“The effect could be like a waterfall of moving color,” he said, “like layers of light we can do infinite things with.”

Project backers hope the bridge can be lit by December. But first the Rotary Club, which is raising money for the endeavor, has to come up with $250,000 to $300,000 to pay for it.

“We are really excited about this project, and we think a lot of people will be too,” Kuehl said.
The bridge will be modeled after a much larger lit bridge in Louisville, Ky., a project that city officials there said has attracted an estimated 2 million people to that city’s downtown during an 18-month period.

“This project is intended to build on what we already have going on downtown,” DECI spokeswoman Salina Heller said. “It is one of those quality of life things we are trying to promote.”

The opportunity to turn the bridge into an artistic nightly light display that could incorporate music appeals to Anderson, who oversaw lighting for last summer’s inaugural Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival and has worked for the band Bon Iver, led by Eau Claire native Justin Vernon.

“Working on a project like this, where you get to do something creative for people to enjoy, that’s what I really like,” he said.

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