New Stars Lighting Sonoran Desert Nights

Posted By Mike Padgett

April 24, 2016

PHOENIX – Every evening after sunset, there are colorful new stars in the night at Desert Botanical Garden.

The stars are eight distinct displays installed throughout the garden by British artist Bruce Munro. His creative work, “Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light at Desert Botanical Garden,” runs through May 8.

Munro and garden workers and volunteers spent several weeks installing hundreds of miles of glowing fiber optics for the brilliant display.

The largest exhibit, called “Field of Light,” features a network of about “30,000 individual spheres of gently blooming light nestled on the hillside of the Garden Butte,” according to a description of the exhibit on the garden website.


Field of Light

“Field of Light” photo by Adam Rodriguez.

Another of Munro’s works is called “Water-Towers.” It consists of plastic bottles assembled into towers of light that slowly change color. If visitors walk to the western edge of this exhibit and look back past the “Water-Towers,” they will see the “Field of Light” display on the side of Garden Butte in the background.



“Water-Towers” photo by Adam Rodriguez.

In the garden’s Sybil B. Harrington Succulent Gallery is a display of spiraling acrylic rods called “Chindi,” which in Navajo means dust devil.



“Chindi” photo by Adam Rodriguez.

We visited the exhibit earlier this month. It was a Tuesday. The special exhibit is popular, so advance reservations are recommended. Garden members must log in on the garden website to receive free reservations. To avoid crowds, garden officials recommend arriving after 8 p.m. The exhibit is open until 11 p.m.

We arrived at the garden at 6:30 p.m. That gave us about 30 minutes to park, enter the garden and get our bearings before sunset.

The exhibit’s colorful fiber optics become brighter as daylight fades into darkness. It is after sunset when Munro’s creations become the newest stars of the night.

The light-based installations reflect the artist’s interpretation of the Sonoran Desert’s flora and fauna.



Artist Bruce Munro. Photo by Mark Pickthall.

Munro’s other current exhibitions are at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota, and the “Field of Light Uluru” at Ayers Rock Resort in Uluru, Australia.

Previously, Munro has displayed his creativity at gardens and museums worldwide. They include the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Guggenheim Museum, New York City; Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee; Hermitage Museum & Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia; Simbionte, Mexico City; Discovery Green, Houston, Texas; Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia; and many others.

For more details about the “Sonoran Light” exhibit, visit

More information about the artist is available at


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Apr 24th, 2016

One Comment to 'New Stars Lighting Sonoran Desert Nights'

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  1. Peg Hodges said,

    Once again, your word pictures are delightful! How lovely to stroll through the gardens in this fantastic weather and see the various displays and the amazing colors. It is wonderful to see such creative work first hand in such a perfect setting.

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