Press Release
August 12, 2015

Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Park District Announce New Art Installation Coming To Garfield Park Conservatory

An immersive installation of light and art, ‘solarise’ to be on display from September 23, 2015 through September 22, 2016
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

•	The Beacon: A permanent LED façade connected to the ribs of the historic Palm House. The Beacon will be the focal point of the exhibit and will be visible from both inside the Conservatory and from the grounds in front of the building.

Florescence: A sculptural canopy of red and blue petals that will cast colorful shadows throughout the Show House by day and by night. The Show House color panel installation will reveal the spectrum of light necessary for plant growth.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly today announced a new temporary art installation will be coming to the Garfield Park Conservatory. The installation by Chicago’s Luftwerk Studio, called solarise, will be a series of immersive light and sculpture installations and was created specifically for the Conservatory.

“As part of the Chicago Cultural Plan, we’ve successfully brought a wide variety of public art pieces directly into Chicago’s neighborhoods so that residents in every zip code have the opportunity to experience art and culture,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Garfield Park Conservatory has long been known as a Chicago cultural anchor, and this interactive art installation will underscore the Conservatory’s cultural legacy while engaging residents in new ways.”

An immersive exhibit that includes light installations and reactive sculpture, solarise will highlight the Conservatory’s historic architecture and acclaimed plant collection. During the day, the installations will use sunlight to provide a unique experience of shadow play and a cloak of color for rooms throughout the building. Solar panels will power the energy efficient LED lighting that will illuminate the sculpture both indoors and outdoors during evening hours.

The installation is made possible through a generous grant from ComEd and Exelon. solarise will be on display at the Garfield Park Conservatory from this year’s Autumnal Equinox to next year’s Autumnal Equinox, September 23, 2015 to September 22, 2016.

“Exelon and ComEd are proud to support this dynamic new exhibit at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The creative use of light and energy aligns with the innovations taking place in our business,” said Chris Crane, president and CEO, Exelon. “We support a wide variety of educational initiatives in the city, and the STEM programming tied to this exhibit will help prepare the city’s youth for future careers in energy and other science-related fields.”

The interactive exhibit will include several dynamic pieces in four of the Conservatory’s display houses, including:

  • The Beacon: A permanent LED façade connected to the ribs of the historic Palm House. The Beacon will be the focal point of the exhibit and will be visible from both inside the Conservatory and from the grounds in front of the building.
  • Florescence: A sculptural canopy of red and blue petals that will cast colorful shadows throughout the Show House by day and by night. The Show House color panel installation will reveal the spectrum of light necessary for plant growth.
  • Seed of Light: A continuous interaction between water and light will create a ripple of shadows that will play out across the Conservatory’s Horticulture Hall floor.
  • Prismatic: An immersive prism sculpture in the Desert House will refract natural and LED lighting. A sound installation using plant material from the Conservatory collection will accompany the sculpture and lighting.
  • Portal: A series of mirrored sculpture panels will frame the Palm House reflection pond and the Fern Room’s waterfall.
  • Lobby: A light box that will play on Jens Jensen’s concept of the Midwest Prairie as a sea of all colors.
  • “We are extremely excited for the solarise installation to come to the Garfield Park Conservatory, said Superintendent Kelly. “This is a continuation of the Park District’s efforts to bring public art and culture to neighborhoods throughout the city.” 

The Park District’s non-profit partner, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, will provide programming for the exhibit that will focus on the nexus of art and science, embodying STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) learning.

The Conservatory is open every day of the year from 9 am – 5 pm, with evening hours extended to 8PM on Wednesdays. Admission and parking are free, and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Green Line’s “Conservatory” stop is just steps from the front door of the Conservatory.

For more information, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call 312.742.PLAY.

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ABOUT LUFTWERK:
Luftwerk is the artistic vision of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. Luftwerk’s art practice focuses on the exploration of what makes a space a place and how art plays a vital role within urban and natural environments. With each individual project, Luftwerk discovers and accentuates the unique connections between architecture, environment and the communities which interact within these places, transforming their experiences of space and site through light and sound.
With immersive light art installations at landmarks such as the AT&T Plaza in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Illinois, to name a few, Luftwerk installations open new aesthetic conversations within public spaces and landmark structures, encouraging viewers to perceive the environment, histories, and concepts surrounding them with a heightened awareness for meaning and place. To learn more, visit: www.Luftwerk.net


ABOUT THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT:
The Chicago Park District is the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,300 acres of parkland, 585 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife gardens, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312.742.PLAY or 312.747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312.742.PLAY.