The Porch Press

Serving the Historic Atlanta Neighborhoods of Grant Park, Ormewood Park, East Atlanta, Benteen Park, Glenwood Park, and environs

Annual After-Dark Arts Event, Illumine, to Light Up Oakland Cemetery

By Angie Wynne

Illumine, Historic Oakland Foundation’s annual after-dark arts event, returns to Oakland Cemetery this April with new history to uncover, new sections of the cemetery to explore, and all-new artistic installations set against the inspiring backdrop of Atlanta’s skyline.

As the sun sets and the Cemetery is transformed, visitors will enjoy exploring Oakland’s Original Six Acres, North Public Grounds, Bell Tower Ridge, historic African American Burial Grounds, and 1908 Women’s Comfort Station, all of which will be illuminated by local artists under the direction of the event’s creative director, Cooper Sanchez. Throughout the Cemetery, innovatively lit headstones, mausolea, flowers, trees, and buildings will showcase Oakland Cemetery’s history and exquisite spring gardens along with the Foundation’s restoration efforts.

This year’s Illumine will especially shine a light on the recently restored historic African American Burial Grounds and 1908 Women’s Comfort Station. Through light, shadow, texture, and sound, Illumine will share the stories of Black Atlantans who built and shaped the city from its origins as a railroad crossing to its arrival as a global city. Within the African American Burial Grounds, visitors will discover how an investigation of Oakland’s now-unmarked graves shines a light on 19th century African American burial practices, how Oakland’s physical landscape was shaped by the class and racial issues of the day, and how the photography of Victorian-era luminary Thomas Askew (an Oakland resident) unveils a rich tableau of middle and upper-class African American life in Atlanta.

In addition to exploring the Cemetery, Illumine attendees will also enjoy live music, craft cocktails, and an Oakland pop-up shop.

Illumine 2022 runs April 21 through 24 and April 28 through May 1 from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Advance tickets are on sale now at Learn more at