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Shining a light on stages, museum exhibits

Published: October 12th, 2010

Category: Spotlights

Stanley Kaye

Stanley Kaye

Associate Professor, Lighting Designer
College of Fine Arts, School of Theatre and Dance

Stanley Kaye always loved theater but preferred to be behind the scenes.

“I like to tinker,” he said. “But if I were an engineer that wouldn’t be enough for me. I need the soul side of things.”

That’s when Kaye, 53, associate professor of lighting design, turned to lighting.

“I was amazed at how light could help advance the story.”

A Brooklyn native, Kaye received his informal education on Broadway, working for theater equipment companies by day and doing whatever design work he could find in the theaters at night. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Brooklyn College and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Hawaii at Manoa before going on to teach at Bucknell University, Northeastern University and the University of Nebraska.

Since his arrival at the University of Florida 11 years ago, Kaye has focused on helping his students apply foundational theater lighting techniques to real-world applications, such as architecture and museum exhibitions.

“If you want to learn about light and lighting, the place to learn it is in the theater because that’s where the most sophisticated control systems – both technically and artistically – are found,” he said.

The theater consultant and lighting expert, who has more than 30 years experience in lighting and academia, said recent technology has allowed full-scale theatrical lighting systems to be miniaturized for use beyond the stage.

“There’s been a lot of convergence between science, art and technology,” he said. “So it’s exciting that the students’ work is not isolated.”

Kaye has collaborated with Luxam Inc., a fiber optic lighting company, to apply theater techniques at the nano-scale. He has recently expanded his work internationally, using this technology to illuminate some of the world’s most prestigious museums.

But Kaye’s is not the only work to have global reach. His students also have had the opportunity to travel to China, Greece, Luxembourg and London through UF’s alliance with Luxam, which began in 2002.

“We want our students to be versed in any venue where lighting design is applied,” he said. “We want to give them broad exposure so they have a lot of choices.”

Photo credit: University Photography

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