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'Code the Hoan' plans to choreograph lights on Milwaukee's iconic bridge

The Milwaukee initiative to add colorful lights to the Hoan Bridge keeps moving forward. Thanks to a major gift from an anonymous donor via the Greater Milwaukee Foundation last month, the organization Light the Hoan is about halfway to its $4.5 million fundraising goal.

Now, it is announcing another program called "Code the Hoan," tapping into local tech talent on the autism spectrum to choreograph how each lightbulb behaves.

Through a unique partnership with Milwaukee School of Engineering and Islands of Brilliance, neurodiverse kids and young adults will have the opportunity to program the bulbs. The lights will respond to music or even local sporting events -- when the Packers score a touchdown, for example -- according to Light the Hoan co-founder Michael Hostad.

“This project is about more than lights on a bridge and it is inspiring tech and coding talent because it brings coding to life in a beautiful, artistic and visible way for students and young people,” Hostad said. 

After Islands of Brilliance develops the "learning modules" next year, they will be shared with partners including Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Sharp Literacy and Discovery World.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee will also partner to provide access to Milwaukee musicians, where coders will set the lights to their music.

Listen to the audio story below to learn more about the plans.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee