GLEAM light exhibit returns to Madison’s Olbrich Gardens

GLEAM exhibit returns to Madison's Olbrich Botanical Gardens for its seventh year.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 4:19 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new way to experience Olbrich Botanical Gardens has returned for another year, with the annual light show.

The gardens are now lit up for “GLEAM: Art in New Light” with nine different and original art installations that use light as their primary medium. Attendees can walk through the gardens and enjoy the lights and four interactive installations as well.

“About half of them feature soundscape so an audio element as well,” Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Tom Fullmer said. “So it’s really kind of beyond the light it’s a full sensory experience that you get to enjoy.”

On an ordinary GLEAM night, attendees will find a kaleidoscope of flowers, a maze of shadows and so much more all made by both local Madison artists and artists from across the U.S. and Canada this year.

“We have artists who really are architects or engineers in their sort of day job so it’s sort of interesting to see what unique ideas they can bring to the gardens,” Fullmer said.

Fullmer said the exhibit is for anyone to enjoy.

“I really do think that anyone can enjoy this. We have families come with young kids, older folks, couples who are here on a date night, so it’s really kind of a one size fits all option for people to have fun and spend a couple of hours in the gardens at night and enjoy themselves,” he said.

Fullmer adds in a given year, Olbrich will see about 340,000 people come through the gardens in the daytime. He emphasizes how unique the experience is to see the gardens come to life in the evening hours in the fall.

“There are other places that do the Christmas light show in town and other botanic gardens so we kind of thought we would do something a little different and do it in the fall and focus more on people creating something totally original and the more art side of lights and I think we’ve really created something special here.”

GLEAM will be open until October 28. Hours are 7:30-10:30 p.m. in August and September, and 6:30-10:30 p.m. in October.

Tickets can be purchased here ahead of time.

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