Olbrich Home Rooted and Growing


GLEAM, Art in a New Light, is an annual exhibit featuring local, national and international artists creating light-based installations throughout Olbrich's 16-acre outdoor gardens. Visitors wind their way through dimly lit pathways, encountering strange and surprising forms that pulse and shimmer in the night around every corner.

Experience the Gardens after dark in a whole new light!




“GLEAM 2018 features artists and designers from right here in the Midwest, Pittsburg, PA, Brooklyn, NY, down south in Tulsa, OK, and all the way across the Atlantic from the Netherlands! These provocateurs design original light installations using everything from video projection and lasers to simple paracord string to create awe inspiring visuals. The Thai Pavilion will be highlighted for the first time, broadening the range of the nighttime garden experiences."

                                                                   - David Wells, GLEAM Artistic Director


The Installations


The Artists




What People Are Saying

“Love this! Never stop doing it!”

“Wonderful exhibit that allows us to experience the gardens in a very different way. Amazing sensory experience.” 

“My favorite event of Madison every year”




GLEAM 18Evening Viewings

August 29 - October 27*

August & September

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays

7:30 - 10:30 p.m.

Doors open and admission sales begin at 7:30 p.m. To avoid long lines, arrive later in the evening.

The exhibit takes around 1 hour to view in its entirety. Last admission is sold at 10 p.m.

*September 7 - GLEAM will only be open to Olbrich members for Member Movie Night.

*September 28 - GLEAM will only be open to CRACKLE event attendees.

CASH Bars on Fridays & Saturdays in both Sept. & Oct. Enjoy a hot toddy or other refreshing beverage as you stroll the Gardens and take in the magic!


Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays

6:30 - 9:30 p.m.

Doors open and admission sales begin at 6:30 p.m. To avoid long lines, arrive later in the evening.

The exhibit takes around 1 hour to view in its entirety. Last admission is sold at 9 p.m.

*October 5 - GLEAM will only be open to CRACKLE event attendees.

Weather Policy

GLEAM will run rain or shine. If dangerous weather is forecasted and we decide to cancel GLEAM for the evening, we will make that call by 3 p.m. and post it on the homepage of this website and on the Olbrich Facebook page.

Admission Prices

Admissions are sold at the door the night of the event.

General Public                          Olbrich Members

$15 - Adult                                      $11 - Member Adult

$7 - Child (Ages 3-12)                    $6 - Member Child (Ages 3-12)

Free - 2 & Under                            Free - 2 & Under

Sunset and Last Light times:

August 29: Sunset - 7:37 pm / Last Light - 8:06 pm

September 5: Sunset - 7:24 pm / Last Light - 7:53 pm

September 12: Sunset - 7:12 pm / Last Light - 7:41 pm

September 19: Sunset - 6:59 pm / Last Light - 7:28 pm

September 26: Sunset - 6:47 pm / Last Light - 7:15 pm

October 3: Sunset - 6:34 pm / Last Light - 7:03 pm

October 10: Sunset - 6:22 pm / Last Light - 6:51 pm

October 17: Sunset - 6:11 pm / Last Light - 6:39

October 24: Sunset - 6:00 pm / Last Light - 6:29 pm

String of Bulbs



For the enjoyment of all guests, tripods are not allowed in the gardens during GLEAM evening viewings. Monopods are acceptable. However, tripods will be allowed during the GLEAM Exclusive Photo Shoots.

Night Photography - GLEAM Exclusive Photo Shoots

Photographers of all levels of expertise and equipment will be able to shoot along the outdoor gardens' paths and walkways. The exhibit will be closed to the public during these exclusive photo shoots, providing unobstructed views of the installations and allowing for the use of tripods.

Introduction to Night Photography Lecture

Join Madison College photography instructor John Lorimer for an exciting lecture-style class to learn the basics of night photography. This indoor class explores the necessary equipment, camera settings, proper exposure techniques, and composition ideas that will improve your success with night photography.

Introduction to Photographic Light Painting

Light painting is a photographic technique that uses simple inexpensive tools to control additive lighting applied to your photographic subjects. Through lecture, demonstration, and hands-on practice, you will learn the basics of this fascinating photography tool, including the equipment, camera settings, and exposure controls to use to achieve some dramatic results.

Click here to find out more about our GLEAM educational programming.


Purple Globes



Explore GLEAM, Art in a New Light, with GLEAM Artistic Director David Wells during these exclusive evening guided walks. He will provide in-depth information about the art installations - their inspiration and the artists who created them. He will also discuss additional special garden lighting effects, the process of creating the exhibition, and share stories about the installation process and the unseen bumps and considerations along the way in creating the final audience experience of this year's GLEAM exhibit.

Click here to find out more about our GLEAM educational programming.


String Lights



Olbrich's Tram will not be running during GLEAM evening viewing hours. Most GLEAM installations are viewable from some vantage point along brick pathways which are wheelchair and stroller accessible.

VOLUNTEER - Play a Part in the Art

New GLEAM volunteers are welcome and needed! Click here for more information on what you can expect as a GLEAM volunteer!

Current Olbrich Volunteers can easily schedule GLEAM shifts online by visiting SignUp.com.

Those interested in joining Olbrich's Volunteer Crew for the first time should contact Marty Petillo at mpetillo@cityofmadison.com to enroll and schedule their GLEAM shifts.





Interested in supporting this exciting, public art exhibit?

Contact Special Projects Manager, Missy Jeanne, to learn more about the great benefits and recognition opportunities GLEAM sponsors receive!

608-246-5616 / mjeanne@cityofmadison.com

For an overview of previous exhibits, check out the installation images below!

2015- 2017 GLEAM Installation Images


Project Collaborators

David Wells, Artistic Director

David Wells is the Gallery Director at Edgewood College as well as an independent exhibit curator. In 2014, he curated Reflections: Madison for the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. He has served on numerous jury panels and curated exhibitions for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; the Dubuque Museum of Art; the University of St. Catherine (St. Paul, MN); the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection (UW-Madison); the Memorial Union Galleries (UW-Madison); and numerous other exhibitions in Wisconsin and the Los Angeles region.

Jeff Epping, Director of Construction/Installation

Jeff Epping has been Director of Horticulture at Olbrich Botanical Gardens for more than 20 years. He oversees the horticultural operations and garden designs of more than ten inspirational display gardens, showcasing the best plants for south-central Wisconsin. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jeff holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture. He worked at the Chicago Botanic Garden before joining the staff at Olbrich and has visited, studied and photographed gardens throughout the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, South of France and Thailand.

Paul Hayden and Joel Reinders, Lead Lighting Designers

Olbrich also partnered with Reinders Inc., a local company that carries one of the largest inventories of professional landscape lighting products in the Midwest. Paul Hayden and Joel Reinders served as Lead Lighting Designers for the exhibit, overseeing the lighting component of each installation, and assisting in the procurement of lighting supplies. Reinders works with the very best manufacturers in the industry and currently uses Olbrich Gardens as a test and training site for area lighting designers during the peak growing season.


GLEAM: Art in a New Light | Now - October 27

Cocktails in the Conservatory | November 16

Member Preview: Holiday Express | November 30

Holiday Express Model Train & Flower Show | Daily, December 1-31

Holiday Concert Series | Sunday Afternoons in December

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719