Tampa bridges illuminated in time for RNC - FOX 13 News

Tampa bridges illuminated in time for RNC

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Five of Tampa's main arteries over the Hillsborough River look like they never have before.

"You've got this beautiful, natural element right in the middle of your city, you should magnify that," said Tracey Dear, a Chicago artist who is the artistic genius behind the project.

The "Aqua Luces," or water lights, are a permanent, artistic installation.

The undersides of Tampa's downtown bridges are now glowing nightly, and that has Mayor Bob Buckhorn beaming with pride.

"Just imagine what the world will see, with the minarets lit up, with Tampa Museum lit up, with the bridges lit up, where we are going to be able to tell Tampa's story, to the entire world," exclaimed an exuberant Buckhorn. "This is our coming out party, we are gonna make Tampa proud, and we are gonna shine!"

The super-bright LED lighting is also, super green.

"It's very, very energy efficient," Dear said. "The power consumption for the entire project is probably a lot less than most people's houses."

Bridges along Kennedy Boulevard, Brorein Street, the Platt Street Bridge and the CSX railroad tracks are all included. The CSX was challenging, but is one of Dear's best, he said.

"It looks spectacular!," said Dear. "It's one of my favorites, the fact that it stands up in the air, most of the time."

It's taken about six years to get the whole project finalized, and just in time for the Republican National Convention.

"This is not for the RNC!," Buckhorn told the huge crowd Friday night. "This is for us!"

It all looks very dramatic and will no doubt be a real eye catcher for years to come.

"There will be a water theme one day, there'll be a glimpses of Tampa, where people have to guess where that's taken from," said Dear. "I've used some landmarks around the city and kind of zoomed in on them a bit."

"Oh, they're awesome," said John DeCort, who was with his kids watching the lights come on. "They're amazing, they look great."

"It looks all colorful and stuff," laughed his son Andrew.

"I thought it was pretty cool, and it changed colors, and I thought, that's it?," said his daughter Anna Marie. "Then it changed colors, and I'm like oh my gosh! That's so cool!"

Reactions like that, Dear hopes, will keep people coming back for years.

"Yeah, exactly, like moths to a lightbulb," he said.


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