Fantastical Art Installations to Brighten Oakland During Autumn Lights Festival
'Luminous Waveforms' by Phil Spitler and Victoria Mara Heilweil. (Courtesy of Autumn Lights Festival)

Fantastical Art Installations to Brighten Oakland During Autumn Lights Festival


Oakland is about to see the light on burner art.

On October 18th through 20th, the seven-acre manicured Gardens at Lake Merritt will be transformed into an enchanted oasis as it hosts the seventh annual Autumn Lights Festival, with a collection of glowing sculptures by more 40 Bay Area artists and live performances ranging from a jazz trio to fire dancers.

LED piano by Luminescent Grand.

Originally envisioned as a lantern festival, Autumn Lights has expanded into a visual wonder with large-scale installations that employ new technology and innovative materials. Among this year's featured artists are Luminescent Grand, an Autumn Lights veteran who created and will host several live performances with the world's first fully interactive LED piano. See Oakland artist Clody Cates' DreamPipes, an iridescent take on PVC pipes that just so happens to purify the surrounding air. Get lost in Astro Botanicals' magical Celestial Gardens, where you'll feel like you're in a trippy, futuristic forest. Snuggle up in one of local art hero Karen Cusolito's gigantic Tumble Leaves—don't worry, they're comfier than they look. Finally, a fan favorite from Autumn Festivals past returns: Todd Cooper's interactive Glow Sticks installation riffs on funhouse mirror trickery.

The festivities begin at dusk and, as with all good parties in Oakland, will include locally crafted beer and food. If you're into it, you can even partake in in-game locations courtesy of Niantic (creators of Pokemon Go) as you stroll through the auroral pathways.

All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt for improvements to the gardens.

// 6pm, Thurs. Oct. 18 through Saturday, Oct. 20; 666 Bellevue Ave. (Oakland); Tickets ($20/advance, $25 on event day) are available at

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