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Artist Cooper Sanchez to Light the Night at Oakland Cemetery

By Pam Henman
On April 16, Historic Oakland Foundation’s (HOF) Arts at Oakland program returns for one evening only with Illumine: Art and Light in the Gardens. The cemetery’s Victorian-era gardens will transform into an outdoor gallery aglow with light installations made by artist and gardener Cooper Sanchez, as well as a trio of local artists.
The twilight tour begins at the cemetery’s main gate and is a self-guided jaunt through the gardens. Sanchez’s light boxes and backlit molds use pressed plants, beeswax, cyanotype prints, drawings, and glass to reflect the architecture, botanicals, and history of Atlanta’s oldest municipal burial ground.
The tour culminates at Oakland Cemetery’s recently erected Beaumont Allen Greenhouse, which will serve as a pop-up gallery featuring works from Macon-based painter Charles Ladson; Elizabeth Ingram, Design Director of Chef Ford Fry’s restaurants; and filmmaker Steve Bransford. Performances from The Shoal Creek Stranglers round out the evening.
Illumine is a well-deserved homage to Oakland’s gardens. For the past eight years I’ve worked at the Foundation alongside a small, devoted group of established gardeners and volunteers to rebuild the Victorian garden heritage that Oakland was partially intended for,” said Sanchez. “This event will serve to honor that hard work at the height of the spring bloom season.”
Illumine marks Sanchez’ second exhibition at Oakland Cemetery since 2009, when he produced the acclaimed Oakland: In the Greenhouse Ruins. The solo show, which featured Sanchez’s paintings, light boxes, and plantings, was held in the footprint of the cemetery’s former greenhouse, which was demolished in the 1960s.
Proceeds from Illumine will benefit HOF, which works to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery. Intended to showcase and interpret the cemetery’s unique history through art, Arts at Oakland is an annual event that partners the Foundation with local artists of various disciplines. The program debuted in 2015 with The Cryptophonic Tour, a sound art installation produced with audio arts collective ROAMtransmissions.
“In what is sure to be an unforgettable evening, Illumine gives us the rare chance to accentuate Oakland’s beauty after dark, while showcasing the talents of our local creative community,” said Mary Woodlan, director of special events at HOF.
Gates open at 6:00pm. General admission tickets to Illumine are $15 in advance and $20 at the gates. A VIP “Illuminati” package for $75 includes admission for one, a limited-edition event poster, two drink vouchers, and a specially prepared box dinner from Chef Brian Horn of JCT. Kitchen & Bar. Tickets are on sale now at www.ticketalternative.com. Illuminati tickets are available in advance only, and capacity is limited.

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