New Lights Let Cheekwood Stay Open Late

Subtle lights brighten footpaths and uplights highlight trees with particularly interesting shapes. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

Subtle lights brighten footpaths and uplights highlight trees with particularly interesting shapes. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

This weekend, Cheekwood opened an art exhibit that makes the grounds glow with threads of fiber optic lights and fluorescent tubes. It was also the debut of new, permanent lights and a plan to keep the botanic gardens open late on a regular basis.

Cheekwood held evening hours for the first time three years ago, during its campus-wide exhibit of strategically-lit glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. At that time, temporary lights were put in to help visitors safely cross the grounds.

According to CEO Jane McLeod, people found just being in the gardens after dark to be a treat of its own.

“The trees themselves become sculpture, and you know, you get the glimpses of the sky and you see the stars and the moon. It’s just an opportunity that I don’t think many other gardens are able to offer.”

McLeod says plans to install permanent lighting were underway even before Cheekwood courted light artist Bruce Munro for the current exhibit. In future years, she expects evening hours to run from Spring through the end of the facility’s annual Harvest Festival.


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