Thanks to this support, KAM was able to incorporate a complete lighting upgrade to energy-efficient LED lighting in the museum's East Gallery, its largest exhibition space.
Renovation took place from January through October, 2020, and the East Gallery was reopened November 5, 2020 for the exhibition Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory.
The lighting upgrade improves efficiency and the gallery experience in a few ways. Incandescent track lighting and wall washers were completely replaced with LED fixtures, lending more balanced light for visitors to view the art. This is due to the spectrum of light they produce, which includes less UV and infrared light than the previous fixtures.
The new LED lighting not only uses less electricity, it also generates less heat than the older fixtures, making gallery temperature easier to maintain efficiently. In fact, LED lighting uses about a tenth of the energy used by the previous lighting system.
Finally, the new lighting system is centrally programmable to operate as a system. This provides KAM with the ability to set the optimal lighting level for an exhibition as a whole, even down to 5 foot candles for highly sensitive works on paper. The computerized control system helps KAM maintain gallery lighting levels that do the least damage to art on display, whether it is art from the collection or art on loan from artists or other institutions.
We are grateful to the student members of the SSC who provided the grant funds to make this lighting renovation possible. SSC is a student-led organization charged with the distribution of two student fees – the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee and the Cleaner Energy Technologies Fee. With the ultimate goal of making the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign a leader in campus sustainability, SSC reviews, recommends, and funds projects that increase environmental stewardship, inspire change, and impact students.
The museum previously received significant SSC support for LED upgrades that were part of an earlier renovation of the Rosann Gelvin Noel Gallery, Light Court, and West Gallery.