January 3, 2022   

Colorado Wildfires Claim Lighting Design Firm

2022 colorado wildfires cullen design studio.jpg

Stock image by David Mark from Pixabay
Author: Al Uszynski 

Lighting People rally to lend support to Cullen Lighting Studio


SUPERIOR, COLORADO – The devasting fires that recently destroyed nearly 1000 homes in Colorado caused many residents of Louisville and Superior to scramble and evacuate their homes with very little notice. One of those affected households was the Cullen family. Their entire neighborhood of 340 homes burned to the ground. Kate, Bill and their three children escaped safely, but they sadly lost their pets, their home, their SUV and nearly all their possessions.

Kate Cullen is an IALD member and Parsons-educated lighting designer. After starting her lighting design career with well-respected firms in New York and Denver, she is now Principal of Cullen Lighting Studio – a firm that she founded in 2014. Like many small design firms, Cullen Lighting Studio is a home-based business. 

Shelter with a lighting friend
When the Cullen’s hurriedly evacuated their neighborhood on December 30, they found shelter with Juliana Ruffalo and family in the Denver suburb of Erie, Colorado.  Cullen and Ruffalo were once coworkers and now collaborate professionally in a specifier-agent capacity.  Ruffalo is an experienced specification sales professional with Visual Interest.  

"When we were fleeing, I was in the back seat holding my twin babies with no car seat carriers and only their diapers. My husband & I quickly ran through a list of people who would shelter us & all three options were my lighting reps. I think that speaks volumes about our industry."
- Kate Cullen, Cullen Lighting Studio

Lighting Industry rallies support
To help the Cullen’s address the costs of temporary living and other unanticipated expenses in the months ahead, Ruffalo started a GoFundMe page with a fundraising goal of $20,000. The $20K milestone was met within the first 24 hours and, as of press time, 426 donors have contributed a total of $69,271. 

Those familiar with the Denver architectural lighting market will recognize many names on the donor list. Additionally, individuals from HLB, Sean O'Connor Lighting, Tirschwell & Co. and other architectural lighting design firms contributed. And many lighting companies donated, too – including USAI, Tivoli, Axis Lighting, LF Illumination and New York based lighting agent, SDA Lighting & Controls.

Amidst this tragedy, it’s heartwarming to witness the architectural lighting community step up to help Cullen Lighting Studio recover from this incredible setback. We join all lighting people in wishing the Cullen family strength, resiliency and best wishes navigating the difficult recovery ahead.

Cullen told us, "We are absolutely devastated and just so thankful at the same time."


GoFundMe: View page & contribute »


NOTE: Full reprint rights of the text of this article are granted to other publications provided (1) the article includes a conspicuous link to the GoFundMe fundraiser page and (2) proper accreditation is given to the author and to inside.lighting




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