By Megan Smith
Photo by Katya Horner
Discovery Green has been transformed into an illuminated winter wonderland this holiday season with two inspiring new art installations—Enchanted Promenade and Firmament.
Designed by the French art and design collective TILT, Enchanted Promenade (featured on this issue’s cover) features large, vibrant peony blossoms that stretch 19 feet into the air and line the park’s impressive Brown Promenade. These towering flowers are enlivened through LED lighting and—as night grows nearer—embody deep shades of red, scattering warm light on visitors below.
This exhibition—which runs until mid-February 2017—marks TILT’s first presentation in the United States. The studio aims to provide unexpected and enchanting experiences by altering scale and engaging with the environment in unique ways. “This surprising winter light installation along The Brown Foundation Promenade of Discovery Green invites the passers-by to immerse themselves in a stunningly beautiful and memorable spectacle, and creates a dreamlike and surreal world blended by poetry and the joy of living,” says Francois Fouilhe, artistic director of TILT.
After a stroll on the promenade, guests are invited to kick back, relax, and enjoy the sensory-engaging experience of Firmament— a 52-foot wide canopy composed of thousands of LED lights, suspended from a 42-foot tall tower topped with a sizeable, glowing LED ball. Created by acclaimed Burning Man artist Christopher Schardt, this exhibit will be on display until January 8, 2017. “I created Firmament for the Burning Man Festival in 2015 and was overwhelmed by the number of people who crowded underneath it for hours,” says Schardt. “Discovery Green will be its first installation in an urban setting, and I look forward to seeing how visitors engage with Firmament during its six-week exhibition.”
This is the third year that the Discovery Green Conservancy’s Public Art Committee—chaired by Judy Nyquist—has selected original and inspiring art for Houston’s premier urban park, furthering their commitment to connecting the community through art. “Enchanted Promenade and Firmament create magical sensory experiences through their use of pulsating lighting elements during the winter season that will surely have park-goers returning for more,” says Nyquist. “These projects, and future Discovery Green public-art ventures, [ensure that] Houstonians will always encounter dynamic, vibrant, and enchanting experiences in one of Houston’s most celebrated and unique gathering spaces.”
“Discovery Green is thrilled to continue presenting amazing, free public artworks,” adds Barry Mandel, president of Discovery Green Conservancy. “Both Firmament and Enchanted Promenade provide new ways for visitors to experience an enlivening of the park with beautiful, interactive, and thought-provoking public art.”
Visitors are encouraged to share their artistic experiences on social media using #DiscoveryGreenArt. For more information, visit discoverygreen.com.