A Palm Springs artist sought the public’s help today in making his popular holiday light display “green.”
Kenny Irwin Jr., who started his “RoboLights” display in 1986 and who created a Christmas set for television host Conan O’Brien, wants to create his display — which contains approximately 7 million lights — with LED lights this year.
On Wednesday July 5, he launched a page on project website Kickstarter, and had pledges of more than $1,000 as of today.
“I’m trying to make the light show green,” he told City News Service today.
His neighbor, Timothy Sigle, said it would be a “feel good story” after an estimated 1 million lights were stolen from Irwin’s family’s property on East Granvia Valmonte in June.
“They took a huge mountain of lights, they could have filled up a pickup truck. They got all the LED lights I had,” said Irwin, who said as far as he knew police hadn’t arrested any suspects.
Sigle recently solicited the support of Palm Springs city leaders for the display.
“We should think about getting behind him in his efforts. Many of you by now know that someone stole many of his lights while he was repainting and repairing his art work,” Sigle wrote in a letter. “To turn this negative into a positive I gave him the idea that now is the time to go green with LED lights. He loves the idea and wants to do his show in 2012 with as many as possible.”
“People got behind the ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue and look how big that paid off. If we can bring even more people to Palm Springs over the holiday … they (will) spend (money) in Palm Springs,” Sigle wrote.
Irwin said he estimated the new LED lights would cost $50,000 to $60,000. But, his utility bills using regular incandescent lights were
“astronomical” and using LED lights would conserve energy and lower costs.
The display would be up between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, he said.
In exchange for pledges on Kickstarter, people will get original artwork. Irwin makes recycled art robots out of objects people ordinarily throw away.
He said the light display started with about 15,000 lights, when he was in sixth grade.
“I wanted to do something unique and special for the community that would bring everybody together,” he said.
Since then, the light display has been on HGTV, the Learning Channel and other television stations, he said.
His artwork is on display at his property at 1077 E. Granvia Valmonte.
His Kickstarter site is http://kck.st/N9BS84 .