Bruce Munro lights up the Atlanta Botanical Garden with miles of fiber optics

Light in the Garden runs through October 3
Light in the Garden, Atlanta Botanical Garden
© Photographer, Mark Pickthall

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Technicolor reality” is how Mary Pat Matheson, Atlanta Botanical Garden president and CEO, describes “Light in the Garden,” the new exhibit debuting this month by British artist Bruce Munro. Through October, hundreds of miles of fiber optics and glowing materials transform the Midtown woodlands into an ethereal, luminous stage. Matheson first met the acclaimed lighting artist known for his sweeping, immersive works two years ago, and she’s been trying to bring his installations—a radiant landscape called “Forest of Light” and five ancillary works—to Atlanta ever since. “Twenty years from now, children are going to tell their children about this experience,” Matheson says. “It’s just that dreamy.”

Light trivia

  • Munro first conceived of “Forest of Light” in 1992 during a trip through central Australia.
  • Laid end to end, the exhibition’s fiber optic threads would stretch from Buckhead to Macon—and back.
  • “Forest” uses 30,000 glass spheres lit from within, the largest production of its kind in the world.
  • The “Water Towers” and “Beacon” installations incorporate 7,050 recyclable water bottles.
  • Eleven designers, technicians, and other staff poured more than 1,300 hours into creating the art in studios 4,120 miles away from Midtown.
  • Volunteers spent more than 1,100 hours assisting Munro’s team with the mass-scale installation.
Rendering courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden
Rendering courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

Into the woods
Also opening this month is the Botanical Garden’s long-awaited Storza Woods expansion, which Matheson describes as “very Old European–woodland romantic.” The focal point is a large oval garden with a cascading water feature and a limestone bridge—all of which you can take in from the canopy walk.

On the calendar On May 2–October 3, hundreds of miles of fiber optic lights set the Atlanta Botanical Garden aglow at Bruce Munro’s “Light in the Garden.”

This article originally appeared in our May 2015 issue.