Art installation glows throughout Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Stephanie Jumper, General Life&Arts Reporter

As the sun sets, a green field fades to thousands of colorful spheres spanning from magenta to orange and green. Observers listen to London-born artist Bruce Munro talk about his creative vision while gazing into every color on the spectrum.

Munro’s Field of Light, installed at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, utilizes solar-powered fiber optics to generate an art installation of 28,000 stemmed spheres that illuminate 16 acres of the Texas Arboretum. Showcasing Munro’s speciality — large-scale light-based artworks — the exhibit remains open throughout the spring under art and event management company C3 Presents.

“You get so entranced by how many lights there are and the moving colors,” said Sayler Tyson, a C3 Presents partnerships coordinator. “Listening to the conversations people are having, they’re actively talking about the art. It pushes people out of their comfort zone in what they usually talk and think about.”

Guest services manager Monse Alvarado-Ruiz said Field of Light offers headphones for attendees to immerse themselves in audio as they wander the 0.75-mile trail with meditative melodies playing in the background. The headphones include three channels: two emitting music and the third playing an interview with Munro describing his artistic vision. 

“You have groups of people of all ages, backgrounds, getting to experience the sound,” Alvarado-Ruiz said. “Sometimes people will say, ‘I’ll walk it as it is,’ but you have the option, and you get to alter your experience in whatever way you’d like.”

Field of Lights hosts celebrations including birthdays, company outings and proposals. Sayler said proposals are especially memorable to her, coordinating with the partner popping the question before the big day.  

“You’re emailing back and forth about plans, and they’re describing why this space is important to their relationship or why they think it’s a perfect backdrop for a proposal,” Sayler said. “It’s special seeing these people share this love with the backdrop.”

As a sponsorships intern for C3 Presents, communication and leadership junior Mary Grace Young said she works to increase student interest in Field of Light through word of mouth as well as advertising.

“There’s a lot of moving parts behind the scenes, so a lot of different people have their hands in,” Young said. “Everyone will have different ideas and will collaborate to make something come to life.” 

Tyson may not interact directly with the man behind the light, but she said she interacted with Munro’s employees, who install his vision at venues around the world.

“I remember one of the people on his team (was) like, ‘Every time the lights turn on, I just can’t help but cry.’” Tyson said. “They all genuinely love it and feel so connected to the art. His team was such a lovely extension of (Munro’s) vision, and they care about it just as much as he does.”

Munro imagines grand-scale lighting designs across the globe, with Field of Light illuminating Australia, Mexico, Denmark and several locations across the U.S. and U.K. Alvarado-Ruiz said she hopes Munro’s embrace of his artistic niche transfers into onlookers’ viewing experiences.

“Anyone could be an artist; it’s just a matter of finding your medium,” Alvarado-Ruiz said. “I want people to come here and feel like there’s nothing else in the world but them or their loved ones, and they can accomplish anything.”