By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — The lights come on and the action begins in Galvin Fine Arts Center. The action is anything from plays put on by St. Ambrose University to community events such as graduation for Davenport’s alternative high school — Mid City High.
A grant worth $51,380 from the Scott County Regional Authority (SCRA) made things a whole lot brighter for the university.
Lance Sadlek, director of Galvin Fine Arts Center, said the university received a grant in 2012 for $25,000 from SCRA for an ETC GIO Lighting Console. “It was compatible with what we had.” The board was capable of being used for a whole host of other options, but not with the older lights that donned the stage. So the university applied for and received a grant in November 2015 to buy 36 LED lighting instruments. The lights were purchased and installed in time for St. Ambrose’s February production. Total cost of the project was $60,373.76. The grant covered the majority of the cost.
“There are so many benefits with these lights,” Sadlek said.
1. Each light has a 10,000-hour life span. “Each year we would spend about $1,200 to $1,500 on light bulbs. These should last up to 10 years.” Easy cost savings.
2. Gels. If a different color was needed for lighting, students had to place color gel sheets in front of each light. “With the LED lights there are indefinite colors we can do, and all from the light board,” no extra hands needed. “We could spend around $350 in gels for a show. Another cost saving measure.”
3. The 36 new lights “burn only pennies in energy” compared with the old ones.
4. “We now meet the industry standard,” Sadlek said. Students involved in theater will know how to operate the most up-to-date lighting technology whether they work on a television set or Broadway.
Senior Allie Stecklein said the new lighting has “made a lot of differences in the effects.” There are more color changes, fewer lights needed, and they are energy efficient. “We used to need 12 circuits, but now only two.”
Even though fewer students are needed on stage, Stecklein said changes are done faster and the new system prepares students for working in the real world.
Theater has always been a hobby for senior Jordan Webster-Moore. He started out at St. Ambrose as a pre-med student and switched to theater. He has always liked acting, and does it at the university, but also is “fascinated by the lights and behind the scenes.” He said the new system will certainly help with getting a job because it is state-of-the-art. “As soon as we had the lights up, our instructor was right there teaching us.”