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Public Art

Two Art Installations Will Light-up Discovery Green This Winter

The Houston art scene is thriving, and Houstonians and visitors have new large-scale public art works to look forward to marvel at and engage with. Two new art installations will light up Discovery Green this winter: Firmament, a vibrant canopy of LED lights by acclaimed Burning Man artist Christopher Schardt, and Enchanted Promenade, towering colorful peonies by TILT, a French light art and design studio. Both installations will illuminate the park starting November 22 courtesy of a grant from the Kinder Foundation.

Schardt’s psychedelic Firmament  is a 52-foot wide canopy of 21,600 LED lights suspended from a 42-foot tall aluminum tower. The tower rests on six legs that form giant equilateral triangles with the ground. A 21-inch diameter LED ball, serving as a beacon, is perched at the pinnacle and can be seen from off in the distance. Guests are invited to gather under the structure and experience the installation with continually changing music and an abstract light show created by the LED lights.

Enchanted Promenade also consists of color-changing LED lighting. Come nightfall, the stems of the peonies grow brighter with a fiery red light that radiates through the petals. Below the towering stems, diffused lighting subtly enhances an inviting seating area for visitors to enjoy the spectacular view.

WAG is a participant as the art advisor and project manager for Discovery Green. Special events are planned to feature the work of Houston musicians and artists in connection with the two art installations.

Read the full release below:

Two Art Installations Will Light-up Discovery Green This Winter

Enchanted Promenade and Firmament will enthrall and delight park visitors

HOUSTON, Texas (September 28, 2016)– Discovery Green will again captivate downtown visitors with two art installations this winter: Firmament, a vibrant canopy of LED lights by acclaimed Burning Man artist Christopher Schardt, and Enchanted Promenade, towering colorful peonies by TILT, a French light art and design studio. An initiative of Discovery Green’s thoughtful and engaging interactive programming, this winter’s installations promise to capture the imagination of Houstonians, tourists and park-goers. The bright, large-scale, temporary installations will illuminate the park starting on November 22. This will be Schardt’s Texas debut and TILT’s debut in the United States.

Firmament and Enchanted Promenade at Discovery Green are made possible by a generous grant from the Kinder Foundation.

Firmament will enliven the Sarofim Picnic Lawn from November 22 through January 8, 2017. From artist and technology innovator, Christopher Schardt, Firmament is a 52-foot wide, canopy of 21,600 LED lights, suspended from a 42-foot high aluminum tower. The tower is elevated on six legs forming huge equilateral triangles with the ground. At its pinnacle, a 21” diameter LED ball serves as a beacon and will be visible from long distances.

Guests are invited to gather under the structure as the LED lights display celestial, playful, psychedelic and brightly abstract images. A continually changing musical element will engage visitors’ senses creating an enveloping, comforting, communal environment below. Discovery Green will seek input from Houston musicians and the community to determine musical selections.

Christopher Schardt is a San Francisco-based sculptor, artist and computer programmer. He is widely known for his highly regarded art installations created for Burning Man, the annual gathering of arts and music fans in Black Rock, NV, over the past 20 years. Schardt aims to create work that inspires connections and interaction.

“I created Firmament for the Burning Man Festival in 2015 and was overwhelmed by the number of people who crowded underneath it for hours,” said Christopher 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 6-week exhibition.”

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,” said Judy Nyquist, chair of Discovery Green’s Public Art Committee. “With these projects and future Discovery Green public art ventures, Houstonians will always encounter dynamic, vibrant and enchanting experiences in one of Houston’s most celebrated and unique gathering spaces.”

Enchanted Promenade by the French art and design collective TILT, features colorful, giant peony bouquets along the majestic Brown Promenade from November 22, 2016 through mid-February 2017. The flowers will soar over 19 feet high, stretching to the sun in a nod to nature.

Enchanted Promenade will come to life through color-changing LED lighting. At night, the stamens grow brighter with a blazing red light that emanates through its petals and scatters warm light throughout. Below the soaring stems of the plant, diffused lighting subtly enhances an inviting seating area for visitors to lounge and enjoy the view.

“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,” said Francois Fouilhe, artistic director of TILT.

TILT is a French artistic studio whose work focuses on the exploration of light and its interplay with art, architecture and space. They aim to provide unexpected and enchanting experiences by altering scale and engaging the environment in unique and unusual ways. TILT has designed light art installations throughout Europe and Asia. Enchanted Promenade marks their first presentation in the United States.

The installations mark the third year of artwork selected by the Conservancy’s Public Art Committee, chaired by Judy Nyquist and comprised of community experts dedicated to bringing original and inspiring art to Discovery Green. Firmament and Enchanted Promenade further the park’s commitment to connecting the community through art.

Discovery Green is thrilled to continue presenting amazing, free public artworks,” said 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.”

Special events are planned to feature the work of Houston musicians and artists in connection with the two art installations.

Discovery Green visitors can also enjoy the park’s iconic public art pieces year-round: Jim Dine’s: The House (Heart), Jean Dubuffet’s Monument Au Fantome  and Margo Sawyer’s Synchronicity of Color and the Mist Tree and Listening Vessels by Doug Hollis.

Visitors can share their experiences using hashtag #DGArt.
Firmament and Enchanted Promenade are made possible by a generous gift from the Kinder Foundation. Discovery Green also receives arts programming support from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and professional services from the Weingarten Art Group.

More information on Enchanted Promenade and Firmament can be found at discoverygreen.com/art. For interview opportunities or additional images, please contact Megan Flinn at Megan@elmorepr.com or 713-524-0661.

Editor’s Note: High resolution renderings of Enchanted Promenade available here and Firmament photos available here.

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Discovery Green
Discovery Green is a highly acclaimed 12-acre park created by a public-private partnership between the City of Houston and the non-profit Discovery Green Conservancy in downtown Houston. Since opening in April 2008, the park has welcomed more than 10 million visitors. The Discovery Green Conservancy works with hundreds of programming partners to present more than 600 art, music, educational, fun and healthy events each year, most of which are presented free to the public. As a non-profit organization, the Conservancy raises all the funds needed for the programming that Houstonians enjoy.

Kinder Foundation
The Kinder Foundation, a family foundation established in 1997 by Rich and Nancy Kinder, has distributed nearly $260 million in gifts to transformational projects in the areas of urban green space, education, and quality of life. The Foundation was one of the catalyst donors in the development and creation of Discovery Green and has been an ongoing supporter of its successful seasonal programming. Visit kinderfoundation.org.

Weingarten Art Group
The Weingarten Art Group is an award-winning art advisory agency with offices in Houston and New York. Founded in 2006 by Lea Weingarten, the firm specializes in providing private, public, institutional and corporate clients with services that include curatorial direction, project management, collection development, acquisitions and budget optimization. As an active participant in prestigious art organizations, Lea Weingarten has served on the boards of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Glassell School Core Committee, the Prints and Drawings Acquisitions Committee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Menil Society Steering Committee for the Menil Collection and on the Civic Arts Committee for the Houston Arts Alliance.