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Golden Gate Park’s 150th-Anniversary Celebration Continues with Dazzling Light Installation

By Cicero A. Estrella

Golden Gate Park might be winding down its 150th-anniversary celebration, but it’s not quite ready to turn down the lights. Quite the opposite, actually, as its final event will brighten up part of the park for the holidays and beyond.

The “Entwined” light installation will create an enchanted forest of ever-changing lights and otherworldly shapes at the park’s Peacock Meadow, allowing visitors to explore paths and enjoy themselves under a trio of entwined sculptural trees while practicing social distancing.

“As the days get darker, this dazzling installation will light the way for park lovers to experience Golden Gate Park in a new and creative way as we close out its 150th anniversary,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco Recreation and Parks.

San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken created the installation, which boasts thousands of LED lights that illuminate trees that range in height from 12 to 20 feet and small flowering bushes. The variety of lighting effects are inspired by nature—raindrops on pavement, lightning and thunderstorms, wind blowing tall grass and flowers, and ripples on a pond.

The installation is scheduled to run from Dec. 10 through Feb. 29, and could possibly be extended to June 1. Peacock Meadow is located in the park’s east end between McLaren Lodge and the Conservatory of Flowers and across from the new popup Welcome Center on JFK Drive.

“A twilight stroll through the park’s east will be truly magical this winter,” Ginsburg said. “People can visit the City’s official holiday tree in front of McLaren Lodge before exploring Entwined, marveling at the Conservatory’s annual light show, and enjoying the Observation Wheel and illuminated bandshell in the Music Concourse.”

Gadeken designed the exhibit as a new concept for Golden Gate Park, although parts of it have been installed previously at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and the Toronto Light Festival.

“Entwined is an immersive light experience for Golden Gate Park visitors to explore, engage with and enjoy,” Gadeken said. “What does the ‘tree of life’ look like in the world, post-nature? The installation is my latest exploration of this question, blending timeless natural objects with abstract forms and modern technology to evoke wonder, magic and joy.”

The project was paid for through private donations to the San Francisco Parks Alliance’s Golden Gate Park 150 campaign and does not use city funds. sfrecpark.org

Renderings courtesy of San Francisco Recreation and Parks

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