The Magical Art Experience at Grounds for Sculpture’s Night Forms

We weren’t sure what to expect — this wasn’t a holiday lights display kind of thing, although we visited close to the holidays. As we parked to attend Grounds for Sculpture’s Night Forms: dreamloop by Klip Collective, billed as an “after-hours, multi-sensory experience created between art and nature,” we gasped just at seeing one of Seward Johnson’s sculptures lit up by plain white light.

This year was the first year in a two-year partnership with the Klip Collective to present a unique synthesis of video projection, light and sound that envelops the architecture and sculpture and can help you bridge the gap between the mundane and the awe-inspiring.

In short and in plain English, it’s another way to experience the fantastic Grounds for Sculpture sculptures!

But it got better. We really gasped in delight when we encountered the shimmering colored lights on an interesting sculpture, to be sure — but it hadn’t really caught our eye on our first visit to GFS.

As we followed the familiar paths around the park’s 42 acres, we were struck by how simply illuminating the artwork in the dark created an unfamiliarity that highlighted different aspects to the sculpture that we might not have noticed during our daytime visit to GFS.

Add in musical effects, colored lights, and projected video, and it completely transformed our experience. I laughed at my husband as he became annoyed at kids and other visitors interacting with projected video at one of the installations — that was the point of it. I gently reminded him that being a part of the art was the point, and then delighted as I watched him let go of his irritation to enjoy the kids’ wonder and enjoyment.

At times it felt as if we had walked into an ancient Celtic ritual or that an alien spaceship was about to land.

Sometimes we simply delighted in the bedazzling color.

This year’s was the first exhibition in a two-year partnership with Klip Collective to present a distinctive after-hours multisensory experience — I really hope this becomes an annual thing. The Night Forms series directly interacts with a selection of contemporary artworks and signature horticultural features across the GFS, furthering the nonprofit’s commitment to creating unique experiences bringing art and nature together.

Night Forms offered us a rare opportunity to visit the park both at night and during the winter, transforming Grounds For Sculpture into a year-round destination.

“This first step into experimenting with the possibilities of a nightscape has exceeded our expectations,” said Gary Garrido Schneider, Executive Director of Grounds For Sculpture.

With this installation, Klip Collective used the opportunity to not only enliven the winter landscape, from the maple allée to the weeping blue atlas cedars, but also to create a robust dialogue with artists of differing media by interacting with the sculptures in the park, including works by Bruce Beasley, Michele Oka Doner, and Michelle Post. Each feature, whether a work of art or nature, is transformed by the light and sound surrounding it.

It truly was an unforgettable experience!

Know before you go: This exhibit may potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.

Getting there: 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ
Hours: You can obtain timed entry passes at the website below.
Website: Grounds for Sculpture