GIFFORD NOWLAND

Light up the Queen Founda­tion

Research ⋅ Design ⋅ Code
February – April 2009
HTML ⋅ CSS ⋅ JavaScript ⋅ Flash

Light up the Queen Foundation is a non-profit theater redevelopment and revitalization project in Wilmington, Delaware

Project Brief

I was chosen as lead web developer and project manager for the Light Up The Queen, a class project my junior year of college. The Queen Theater, a 45,000 sq ft theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware had been abandoned and left to decay for five decades until the Light Up The Queen Foundation stepped in to revive it. The foundation wanted a website that would highlight the theater's rich past and historical significance to inspire community and investor interest in the redevelopment project.

Project Strategy

One of the most striking features of the Queen Theater was the state in which it had been left. Ancient movie projectors decayed with their last film reels still in place. The decorative wallpaper, once a glimmering red and gold, was peeling from the walls. Rays of light peaked through the ceiling, simultaneously illuminating the structure's ornate details while exposing its disintegration. We yearned to capture the potential concealed under years of rust and deterioration and hoped that our website would effectively convey that feeling to others.

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The Light Up The Queen Foundation homepage

Project Result

We developed a website that put large, beautiful images front and center to convey the concealed elegance of the building. The homepage featured a rotating set of images as its background. We incorporated an interactive timeline, picture gallery, and short film about the history of the theater told through the memories of Wilmington residents who had been patrons of the theater in their youth.

The website was an important resource advocating reinvestment in the theater. Philadelphia public radio station WXPN announced that they would open a second studio and host a branch of their syndicated World Café Live show at the Queen. Wilmington real estate developers Buccini/Pollin Group and city officials soon joined in the initiative to restore the Queen Theater and in October 2009, six months after the launch of the website, the $25 million required for restoration was secured and the Light Up The Queen Foundation announced a Spring 2011 opening. Today many local and touring acts have shows at the theater and it remains a driving success in the downtown Wilmington revitalization movement.

Light Up The Queen image gallery page Light Up The Queen image gallery modal view Light Up The Queen historical timeline & video < >