Bruce Munro: LIGHT Debuts

ROCKFORD, IL – After years of dreaming, planning, and creating, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens will be seen in a whole new light this summer and fall.

Bruce Munro: LIGHT is now open and will run from June 3, 2017 through November 5, 2017 at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd Street, Rockford.

“We are excited to share with the region what we found so enchanting about Bruce Munro’s work.  Bringing Bruce Munro to Rockford really started out as a dream, our staff saw an Instagram post in 2014 and started researching his work as we were captivated by his use of light and gardens.  Early in 2016 our dream became real as we signed on for a 2017 exhibition. This type of world-class exhibit will shine a big spotlight on Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, and Rockford,” said Kelly Moore, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens Facility Manager. 

About Bruce Munro: LIGHT

A British native, Munro is known for his large light-based sculpture installations. His sculptures have been featured in museums around the world as well as some premier U.S. public gardens such as Longwood Gardens, Atlanta Botanic Garden, Desert Botanic Garden, and Franklin Park Conservatory. The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens exhibition is Munro’s first exhibit in the Chicago region, and visitors are expected to travel from Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, Bloomington-Normal, Quad Cities, and beyond. The exhibition is Munro’s eighth large-scale art installation in the U.S. The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens campus will provide a stunning backdrop for eight sculptures, including Munro’s iconic Field of Light and Water-Towers. Two new works will also debut: Sun, a monumental globe, and Don’s Flamingos, a playful homage to the designer of the pink lawn flamingo, Don Featherstone.  “It is a great privilege to create an exhibition at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, and I was captured by the landscape of the garden and the Rock River adjacent. Gardens are very special to me because it’s an opportunity to re-engage people with real life, with the beauty of a garden, and that sense was with me when I visited the Conservatory. Part of the aim of these garden exhibitions is to get people who aren’t necessarily familiar with a garden to visit and experience such a beautiful place to be. I love the challenge presented to me by the Conservatory, of seeking out the balance that exists between contemporary art, landscapes, and architecture,” said artist Bruce Munro. 

The majority of Bruce Munro: LIGHT is funded though the Nicholas Family Foundation Endowment, although additional support is needed in the form of sponsorships, donations, and volunteers. The Rockford Park District Foundation received a $35,000 grant for Bruce Munro: LIGHT.  The grant was awarded by the Community Arts & Humanities Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.

Additional Transportation Options for Bruce Munro: LIGHT

  • Hop On, Hop Off Trolley Car 36 – Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings Trolley Car 36 will stop at marked locations on the tracks along the riverfront for $3 per person.
  • RMTD Trolley - Throughout the summer and early fall, the RMTD trolley will be riding throughout downtown Rockford every Friday night.  Guests will be able to ride the turn of the century street car for free as the open-air trolley travels throughout the River District making convenient stops at the Rockford City Market, Davis Park, UW Health Sports Factory and as an added bonus, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens for the Bruce Munro: LIGHT.  

About Bruce Munro  

British artist Bruce Munro is best known for producing large immersive light-based installations, which often employ a massing of components by the thousands. An artistic diarist, he has spent over 30 years collecting and recording ideas and images in his sketchbooks, which he returns to over time as source material. Language, literature, science, and music have also greatly influenced his work. Frequently, Bruce’s subject matter is his own experience of fleeting moments of rapport with the world and existence in its largest sense of being part of life’s essential pattern. His reoccurring motif is the use of light on an environmental scale in order to create an emotional response for the viewer. Munro’s work has been widely exhibited, including by the Guggenheim Museum, NY; Waddesdon Manor for the Rothschild Collection, UK, Longwood Gardens, PA, and is part of a permanent collection at Texas Tech University. His landscape installation Field of Light is at Uluru, Australia through March 2018. His work is held in the collections of museums and botanical gardens internationally, including the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK.