Greening of the Arts

Cygnus LEDs Contribute to a Very Bright, Green Future for the Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center

As one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., touches the lives of over two million people a year with performances by artists from America and worldwide.

The Kennedy Center is comprised of ten performance spaces that feature 2,000 performances every year, giving stage lighting equipment quite a workout. With a recent green initiative, bringing the performance area lighting systems to the next level with dependable, durable, energy-efficient LED fixtures has proven to be an integral aspect of ongoing actions to reduce energy consumption, environmental impact and improve operational efficiency.

Wybron Cygnus LED wash lights fit the bill perfectly by exceeding the needs of theater lighting and in greening the operations of a world-renowned performing arts facility. Over the past 18 months, the process began with the installation of 162 Wybron Cygnus MF200 and VN200 color wash fixtures to replace existing traditional PARs (using Wybron Forerunner Color Changers) in several of the performance spaces. This includes the Millennium Stage, where a free performance takes place daily as part of the “Performing Arts for Everyone” program.

See Cygnus LEDs lighting the daily Millennium Stage performances in the video below -

Due to a recommendation by one of Wybron’s lighting dealer partners, Barbizon Capitol, the Cygnus units have become the most energy efficient fixtures in use at the Kennedy Center. According to Glenn Turner, Head of the Kennedy Center’s Productions Operation Shop, Cygnus LEDs have created a notable difference by providing greater output, especially in saturated blues and purples, and in creating dramatic effects within shows.

Dan Covey, a freelance projection and lighting designer, has designed lighting for several performances at the Kennedy Center. He really enjoys working with the Cygnus fixtures and now requests them whenever preparing to light a performance in one of the Center’s theaters. Dan commented, “I love them! The Cygnus LEDs simplify hangs, for instance, they cut the top and back systems by two thirds. I am able to replace 3 traditional PARS with one Cygnus. They draw less power, cut down on weight and instrumentation, even out the wash, and provide a tremendous amount of flair.” Covey feels many console color profiles of other fixtures are laughably long and he is much more successful with Cygnus color mixing, also saying when used at 30ft produces a very punchy throw.

There are many green benefits to Cygnus LEDs vs. conventional lighting in a performance center setting:



  • Cygnus LEDs require 65% less power than traditional 575W PARs, considerably reducing energy consumption while providing a remarkably bright, even wash.


  • The versatile Cygnus provides an unlimited color palette, including 2000ºK –7500ºK calibrated white light, completely eliminating the cost and maintenance of color changers and gel strings.


  • The impact on the environment is reduced by eliminating the need to dispose of used lamps and gel strings.


  • Lamp replacement is a thing of the past with an LED lifespan of 60,000 hours, giving savings in inventory, labor and replacement costs of relamping PARs three or more times a year.


  • Dimming racks, wiring, and additional power supplies are not required with the self-contained Cygnus LED fixture, giving far fewer items that require maintenance.

  • With a patented, advanced thermal management system, Cygnus LEDs produce small amounts of heat, especially in comparison to conventional lighting. That is a tremendous advantage to a performing arts center, as it reduces HVAC expense. In addition, Kennedy Center performers have commented on the beneficial change of performing under these low-heat producing fixtures versus traditional theater lighting. The low-heat Cygnus LEDs also increase the safety factor for lighting the many special events each year. Cygnus fixtures can be positioned on the floor for lighting drapes and other areas without concern of becoming a fire hazard or of causing burn injuries to attendees that might come into to contact with a fixture.

    Aside from the tremendous energy savings and lower impact on the environment, Glenn Turner shared another reason Cygnus fixtures have proven to be advantageous to the center, “The face of the fixture is the actual color that is emitted. When the fixtures are used as a back light unit, you see the actual color as opposed to a rainbow of LEDs that you would see with many other LED fixtures. This is significant for instance, when lighting a concert hall for a symphony. Many different rainbows of colored lights glittering above can be distracting to the audience.”

    State-of–the-art, cutting-edge performance venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. are an important part of the trend in greening of the arts. Wybron Cygnus LEDs are one significant aspect in meeting these goals towards a better, greener, brighter future.

    About Wybron, Inc. - For over 30 years, Wybron has been a market leader in lighting innovation, dedicated to creating, manufacturing and marketing products that advance the art of lighting. Wybron invests heavily in engineering, research and development to remain on the cutting-edge of entertainment, church and architectural lighting, providing solutions to stay ahead of the rapidly changing needs and demands of the industry.

    About The John F. Kennedy Center - Since opening in 1971, the Kennedy Center has continued its efforts to fulfill his vision—presenting the greatest performers and performances from across America and around the world, nurturing new works and young artists, and serving the nation as a leader in arts education.