Denver Performing Arts Complex

    Denver, Colorado, USA

    Photo Credits: Jake Holschuh

    Theater holds a captivating performance underground next to the garage

    The Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC) is home to The Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex operated by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Comprised of four large theaters and six smaller theaters, it is the second largest theater complex in the United States. A street below the complex’s promenade provides vehicle and pedestrian access to the parking garage.


    Lighting designer, James Sale was hired to spruce up the dark, drab tunnel beneath the promenade with color changing light. He designed a solution that includes six daily light shows, each three to four minutes long. Waves of colorful light move back and forth, ultimately flowing into the garage. After the first show completes, the system switches to one of the other five shows at random to ensure parents waiting for their children to emerge after rehearsal do not see the same display twice. Running 24/7, seasonal light shows and shows to match the tenor of the theater’s opening performance are also programmed into the system.


    Sale specified 286 Color Kinetics ColorGraze MX4 Powercore, 15° x 30° beam angle, addressed in 1 ft increments, to be installed on the ground, shooting upward to illuminate the 8 m (25 ft) high tunnel walls. Twelve Color Kinetics Data Enabler Pros power the system. As part of this project, the tunnel walls were also cleaned to ensure the dynamic lighting works as intended with an existing mural and the blank sections of the walls.


    The new lighting system has transformed the tunnel into a delightfully pleasant space for anyone driving and walking into the garage. Once dingy, it is now an inviting and safe place.

    Project credits


    Denver Performing Arts Complex


    Lighting Design:

    James Sale



    enLighten Engineering

    Architectural Planning:

    Studio CPG


    Electrical Contractor:

    Weifield Electrical Group Contracting



    Visual Interest



    Turner Construction Company


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