Amazing lighting of murals

Lighting Maxo Vanka’s Murals

In 2013, Clear Story, a Pittsburgh design and technology firm, was employed to develop a Lighting Master Plan for the Maxo Vanka murals, with a goal of creating a design strategy that could be implemented in phases.

Combining the illumination principles of art, theatre, and architecture, Clear Story methodically evaluated the physical space of St. Nicholas and the opportunities to integrate lighting elements into the building’s architectural features. The energy-efficient LED lighting system has been designed to evenly illuminate the murals in high quality, non-destructive light – bringing out every detail of Vanka’s work. The installation of new lighting has followed closely behind the completed conservation efforts.

Clear Story also developed customized controls for the museum-quality mural lighting system. The control interface enables docents to seamlessly guide visitors through the story of the murals. Functionally, the integrated lighting directs the attention of visitors during guided tours.

Phase I

Electrical upgrades illuminate four vertical/corner murals – Injustice, Justice, Prudence and Mati and install 90% of the lighting controls needed for the remainder of the lighting.

“We are interested in exploring the ways that lighting can elevate the visitor experience and contribute to the story of the place, helping to focus the program presentation and improving the understanding of the historic material.”

– ROB LONG, PRINCIPAL AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR, CLEAR STORY

Injustice Mural
Justice Mural
Ceiling of St. Nicholas Church Murals

Phase II

Installation of lighting fixtures and controls for all of the remaining murals with the exception of the Main Altar.

Planning underway through PHMC Planning Grant

“The Maxo Vanka Murals are an enduring reminder of the power of art and the artist to convey complex and socially relevant observations of the world around us, and of the responsibility we all share in protecting and preserving these sites for future generations.”

– ROB LONG, PRINCIPAL AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR, CLEAR STORY