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Artist Wants to Light Up the Silk Mill

Stephen Antonakos' neon sculpture will tower over property.

Artist Stephen Antonakos has used neon as his medium for the last five decades, in cities from Tokyo to Tel Aviv.

Now, he's turned his sights to Easton.

More specifically, the Simon Silk Mill, where Antonakos wants to decorate the property's 100-foot smoke stack with brightly colored lights.

"He gives the Silk Mill project instant international recognition," Lafayette College's Ed Kerns told people at the project's unveiling Wednesday at the mill.

At this point, the only thing to unveil was a model of the project, showing the smoke stack and boiler house decorated with colored lights.

"Take a look at this neon," Antonakos said, pointing at a lighted pole near the model. "There's a lot of light in here, but it still glows."

When it's finished, it "will literally light the way to the Silk Mill," Kerns said.

It's not clear when the exhibition will complete. Antonakos says it will take about a week to install everything once it's approved by the city.

The Simon Silk Mill opened in the late 1800s, and employed well over 1,000 people at its peak. 

New Jersey developer Mark Mulligan is redeveloping the 13-acre Silk Mill property, which the city hopes to see turned into a hub for artists. Also envisioned are a hotel, stores and restaurants. The project is expected to cost between $70 million and $100 million.

In the meantime, the property won't just sit idly. In addition to Antonakos' exhibit, the Movies at the Mill film festival returns to the site this fall.

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