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Golden Gate Park’s “Lighted Forest” Now Open Until 9:30p

Artist Charles Gadeken announces his whimsical lighted forest w/ 2,000+ LEDs will remain open later during its final month
By - posted 3/15/2021 No Comment

Now that it’s lighter later, COVID numbers seem to be improving and we’re getting into the exhibition’s planned final month, “Entwined” is now open until 9:30pm nightly in Golden Gate Park according to an Instagram post over the weekend by artist Charles Gadeken.

The exhibit is currently scheduled to end on April 4 (or April 6, depending on which website you believe) and might be extended later into the summer.


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Entwined Meadow is an installation by Charles Gadeken. The exhibit brings the viewer to a whimsical land where visitors explore paths and sit under one of three metal sculpted trees. The trees range from 12 to 20 feet tall with colorful and ever-changing illuminated canopies as large as 30 feet wide. In addition to the trees, flower cluster sculptures composed of 2,000 LED lights at varying heights invite a dynamic and dazzling experience filled with radiating light and color. The lighting effects are inspired by nature and build a sense of magic and wonder: sensations such as raindrops, lightning, thunderstorms, windblown grass and leaves, ripples on a pond are translated through color and duration.

When does Entwined End? 
It’s unclear! A press release from SF Rec and Park and the Golden Gate Park 150 Anniv. website both say April 4th. The artist website says April 6th and that it “exhibit could be extended until the summertime.”

Viewing is free and open to the public day and night; illumination takes place sunset to 9:30pm.

Where? Peacock Meadow sits in the park’s east end between McLaren Lodge and the Conservatory of Flowers and across from the new pop-up Welcome Center on JFK Drive.

ENTWINED is a grove of five Africa-inspired trees with raised root tangles to climb and nestle into and a canopy of light cubes with interactive programming. It is a place to gather under shade during the day and to play at night.

The trees of ENTWINED are inspired by acacia and mangrove trees in Africa. Thus, they have traditional African girl names:

  • “MOSI” (first-born) is 20ft tall with a 25ft canopy
  • “ENU” (second-born) is 15ft tall with a 20ft canopy
  • “AMA” (Saturday’s child) is 10ft tall with a 15ft canopy
  • “APIYO” and “ADONGO” (twins) are 6ft tall with 10ft canopy

ENTWINED is purposely large and welcoming, with intentional space to support many people gathering together. These trees are meant specifically to be climbed upon, creating a direct physical interaction with the piece of art. It is a place for meeting, gathering, talking, and interacting. ENTWINED will draw people in at night and entrance them to stay beneath the waves of light in the jungle gym of roots, creating another social space. Meeting new people and telling them about your personal experience is an important aspect of the festival social environment. With ENTWINED, I seek to foster and inspire such interactions. The structure of ENTWINED invites you to interact with it and those around you.

The trees and roots are made of steel plate in an innovative combination of CNC-cut and hand-rolled strips, to accomplish a finished effect that is simultaneously both curvy and boxy. The broad flattish canopies are made of 4” and 8” plastic cubes with individually addressable 16-channel LEDs. Millions of colors move through the trees’ leaves in hypnotic waves. The raised root structure of the trees is lit underneath and provides a climbing surface and nooks to rest in and gaze at the light show. The trees will be spread out in a slightly curved line, with a spiral of metal root structure ~100ft long. The total footprint is approximately 75ft x 50ft. The beautiful colors will beckon across the grounds at night and be a totally immersive interactive experience. During the day, the grove forms a gathering space in the shade.

Golden Gate Park’s beautiful “lighted forest” that’s transformed Peacock Meadow into an enchanted forest of otherworldly shapes and ever-changing light, has been extended. You can now view the whimsical wonderland through April 4th.

“Entwined,” by San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken, honors Golden Gate Park’s 150th Anniversary.

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The lighting takes place every night from sundown to 9:30pm. – Updated 9:30pm end time according to goldengatepark150.com/entwined

The project is paid for through private donations to the Park Alliance’s Golden Gate Park 150 campaign and does not use city funds. Peacock Meadow sits in the park’s east end between McLaren Lodge and the Conservatory of Flowers and across from the new pop-up Welcome Center on JFK Drive.

The Entwined installation creates a whimsical wonderland where visitors can explore paths and sit under a grove of three entwined sculptural trees while practicing social distancing. The trees range from 12 to 20 feet tall with illuminated canopies as large as 30 feet, filling the meadow with changing light. Sculptures comprised of 2,000 LED lights cluster into small flowering bushes at varying heights, further filling the green space with peaks and valleys of radiating light.

The variety of lighting effects are inspired by nature and build a sense of awe: Raindrops on the pavement, lighting and thunderstorms, wind blowing tall grass and flowers, and ripples on a pond.

Entwined is a new concept designed for Golden Gate Park, although parts have been installed previously including at Electric Daisy Carnival Vegas and Canada’s Toronto Light Festival. The public art project is ADA accessible.

“Entwined is an immersive light experience for Golden Gate Park visitors to explore, engage with, and enjoy. What does the ‘tree of life’ look like in the world, post-nature? The installation is my latest exploration of this question, blending timeless natural objects with abstract forms and modern technology to evoke wonder, magic, and joy.” Gadeken, said.