Old-fashioned, heat-producing bulbs that slowly were damaging the four large portraits surrounding the fourth-floor rotunda of the state Capitol have been replaced.
The last of the traditional 300-watt bulbs were replaced Friday with cooler LED lighting, part of an ongoing effort to replace all lighting on the Capitol's irreplaceable artwork, which includes murals, paintings and portraits.
Fixtures with the bulbs, which were similar to floodlights and the heat they produce, were replaced with two rows of light-emitting diodes. The entire fixture is 22 watts, said Jerry Shelton, sustainability coordinator for the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services' office of facility management.
The colors of the murals appear sharper and much brighter under the LED lights. Shadows caused by the old bulbs are gone on the portraits of former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Robert S. Kerr, Will Rogers, Sequoyah and Jim Thorpe.
“It's a wonderful change,” Shelton said. “When you're dealing with artwork, you want to make it look proper.”
The LED lights and fixture for each of the portraits cost $650; total cost was $2,600, Shelton said.
The Capitol's maintenance workers installed the fixtures.
Shelton said the traditional bulbs lasted about two months. The LED fixtures should last about 10 years, meaning the state will recoup the cost of the fixtures in savings in about four years.
The Oklahoma Arts Council last year told the Capitol Preservation Commission of the harmful effects the heat-producing bulbs had on the portraits, which were painted by Charles Banks Wilson in the 1960s.
Shelton said traditional 150-watt bulbs were replaced earlier with 10-watt LED lights that illuminate some of the smaller portraits in the Capitol.
The traditional 115-watt bulbs that were in two tall lampposts on each side of the large portraits have been replaced with 18-watt compact fluorescent lightbulbs, which don't give off heat, Shelton said.
Heat-producing bulbs in the Betty Price Gallery on the Capitol's first floor were replaced last year with LED lights.
It's a wonderful change. When you're dealing with artwork, you want to make it look proper.”
sustainability coordinator for the state