DOWNTOWN — The magnificent nighttime city skyline — which features the tops of skyscrapers lit up in brilliant colors like red, blue, green and purple — has a purpose.
Many of those buildings are participating in a program that promotes charitable, civic and non-profit initiatives, according to the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago. The group represents 253 buildings.
BOMA/Chicago created the "Building Lighting Partner Program," which features a list of approved light and phrase requests from organizations that want to be showcased on buildings. A BOMA/Chicago official said it only approves charitable, civic and non-profit organizations.
Sr. Editor Justin Breen on how all the buildings come together to support charities.
The list, which is updated monthly, includes dates that buildings should use the lighting color scheme and phrases. This week, April 1-6, is blue for Autism awareness, and later in the month, April 21-28, is red and white for the Red Cross. Approved phrases include "Love Trees" for the Morton Arboretum in late April and early May and "Cure HD" for the Huntington's Disease Society next month. Organizations that want to be featured must apply online with this form.
The BOMA/Chicago official noted buildings can still highlight whatever business, including for-profits, they'd like. The city's highest buildings are routinely lit up to celebrate Blackhawks, Cubs or other sports teams accomplishments.
Each building is responsible for the changing of the color scheme. Nancy Capadona, general manager of the Hancock Center, said each light atop the skyscraper is "manually taken out" when switching the colors on the 99th floor.
We "put in a colored gel tube and re-install," she said in an email. "It's quite a labor intensive process."
Randy Stancik, building manager of the then-Sears Tower, told Chicagoist in 2009 it "takes two men about two hours to change the colors, attaching theatrical gels to the tops of the 22 spotlights that illuminate the antennae."
Check out some of the skyline photos below or in the slideshow above (courtesy of Barry Butler):
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