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Art Installation Inspired By Nature Lights Up Discovery Green

Field of Light is part of an effort to bring large-scale installations to a popular public space.

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DGLights02a_LR-Photo-credit_Katya-Horner.jpg
The new installation at Discovery Green is called Field of Light. Photo credit: Katya Horner.

The rain has just stopped on a misty late afternoon at Discovery Green. A small crew moves along a damp brick pathway. Light bulbs are checked and wires are adjusted, and as darkness starts to fall, a colorful art installation starts to flicker to life.

Rob Wisner has been watching the process. He lives in one of the nearby apartment buildings.

“It’s kind of those rare moments when there’s not many people in the park, like real early in the morning or real late at night, when we’re walking the dog, that it’s like our little back yard. It’s really pretty cool, it’s a unique space.”

The new installation is called Field of Light. It’s part of Discovery Green’s efforts to bring large-scale art projects to a public space that’s used by hundreds of visitors every week.

We get a quick tour of the installation from Discovery Green Programming Director Suzanne Theis.

“You see on either side of the Brown Promenade, there are 4,000 small glass globes that have been placed into sort of translucent tubes.”

Those tubes are of varying heights and they sit on springs. They’re connected by fiber optic cables that light the globes. As the minutes pass and the skies darken, the piece becomes more and more dramatic.


The Arts Insight segment on the Field of Light installation starts at the 6:50 minute mark and runs until 9:45.

“And as we’re standing here, they’re kind of moving from one shade to another and they’ve waving in the breeze, and it’s just a field of light.”

The Field of Light is the work of British artist Bruce Munro, who’s on hand to oversee the installation. Munro has done large-scale light projects all over the world but this is his first piece in an urban setting.

As the lights grow brighter, Munro talks about his inspiration for the work.

He used to live in Australia, and he was struck by the plants he saw in the desert and how they moved in the wind as they waited to bloom.

“I used to look at anything that was to do with light, and look at it with an emotional brain, but also intrigued. Because I’m also interested, as a lot of people, in how things work.”

Back in the UK, Munro started learning how to build light pieces. He constructed his first Field of Light in the back yard, and he witnessed the emotional impact it has on people.

Munro recalls how a neighbor who was ill visited the installation. He says she grabbed his hand and burst into tears.

“I didn’t realize until that time that I could produce something that would emotionally change somebody and maybe make their day a little brighter. And very sadly, that lady had cancer and she died. But I can still feel her hand squeezing my hand, and I said to my wife, I know now this is what I want my art to be about.”

As as the bulbs grow brighter in the Field of Light, others come out to take a look.

Sharon Taylor lives in a building across the street and spends a lot of time at Discovery Green. She says she hopes to see more art projects that can serve as a gathering place.

“People are here in the park every weekend. It’s filled with people from all over. So I think it really does enhance the city and people are starting to appreciate the fact that Houston is a very exciting place to be”

You can view the Field of Light at Discovery Green through February 8.

DGLights32_LR-Photo-credit_Katya-Horner.jpg
Photo credit: Katya Horner.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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