Preservation Plaza Stage – Arnolds Park

    Arnolds Park, Iowa, USA

    Photo Credits: David Raver, RDG Planning & Design

    Replicating waves of the past with a dynamic lighting system of the future

    Among the longest operating amusement parks in the USA, historic Arnolds Park sought improvements that would create a new performance venue with accompanying amenities and expanded capacity, while preserving the view of the city’s signature West Lake Okoboji from the park’s open green space. It was essential that the improvements fit the context of the historic theme park and adjacent natural heritage site, including meeting requirements defined by the local Natural Heritage Committee.


    The new stage’s canopy, with its vertical stature allowing for unobstructed views through the park, evokes a rippling wave rolling in from the lake. The canopy’s ripple also appears to extend the undulating tracks of the adjacent roller coaster along the lake’s boardwalk. Color-changing LED luminaires along the perimeter of the canopy add another visual connection to the iconic coaster.


    Completed in August 2022, the lighting system for the new stage was designed to enhance the architectural wave form shape of the canopy with individually addressable RGBW fixtures, while using white light floodlights with varying optics to uplight the wood look phenolic panels on the underside of the canopy.


    Multiple lighting design mock-ups were developed to select a light source that would fit within the ‘trough’ profile around the perimeter of the canopy. Moreover, RGBW lighting was required that could be programmed for various effects utilizing individual 30 cm (1 ft) fixture-based sequencing.


    Color Kinetics Graze Compact Powercore, RGBW fixtures illuminate a 1.8 m (6 ft) tall soffit facia around the perimeter of the canopy. They were selected for their saturated colors, defined 10° x 60° beam, and plug-and-play continuous run options. The low glare light source also helped in the design since some fixtures are mounted nearly vertically along the curving undulation of the canopy profile.


    Color Kinetics eW Burst Powercore gen2, (now specified with Burst Powercore gen3, eW) white light fixtures were selected to uplight the columns and the wooden ceiling due to their small size, numerous glare accessories, and the multitude of beam angle accessories. The very smooth optical beams enabled a stepped installation with four different aiming angles, blending along the underside of the waveform canopy using theatrical side lighting techniques.


    Color Kinetics Data Enabler Pro delivers integrated data and power, and Phillips Active Site (now specified with Interact Landmark) provides remote monitoring and management for the dynamic system. All fixtures are linked to a DMX control system to allow show control of the venue during performances or independent control through the Active Site software.


    “Color Kinetics was incredible to work with, from providing us with fixtures for our initial mock-ups to technical assistance during design.  Gopher Stage Lighting’s technicians came to the site prepared with the knowledge they needed to create the visually stunning shows the owner desired all within one night of programming.” – David Raver, RDG Planning & Design

    Project credits

    Lighting Designer:

    David Raver, IALD, LC, MIES



    RDG Planning & Design



    Signify Certified System Integrator:

    Gopher Stage Lighting


    Electrical Contractor:

    Thompson Electric


    Sales Representative:


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