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Group wants to cover Kansas City tower with changing lights

Group wants to cover Kansas City tower with changing lights

November 25th, 2018 by Associated Press in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Artists are planning to transform a broadcast tower that looms over downtown Kansas City into a giant light installation that brightens the Missouri city's skyline.

Entrepreneur Jasper Mullarney has spent years and several thousand dollars plotting how to turn KCTV-5's tower into the "tallest public art piece in the world," the Kansas City Star reported. Backers said it could be a tourism draw.

"This could be our arch," said Mullarney, referring to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. "It's the tallest structure in the city."

The roughly 1,000-foot tower used to be covered in more than 1,300 incandescent lights. But KCTV General Manager Chuck Poduska said the station doesn't plan to relight it.

"Logistically, it's very difficult to keep that tower lit," Poduska said. "It's just not feasible anymore."

That hasn't stopped Mullarney. He got approval to move forward with planning from former KCTV General Manager Mike Cukyne. Mullarney said the key is to hatch a foolproof plan with no downside for the station, which could benefit from the publicity.

Mullarney is working with Kansas City Art Institute faculty member James Woodfill as lead artist and Jose Faus as lead community engagement artist on concepts.

"I've been dreaming about that tower for the last 40 years," said Woodfill, who has worked on light projects before.

The group wants to install LED lights that change every night to match the color of the sky, sunset and clouds during the past day. The group estimates it could cost $2 million.

"It restores and pays tribute to the lights we all miss, while also holding its own as a unique and beautiful piece of public art," Mullarney said. "It'll also never repeat. The patterns will be unique to each passing day."