One special and short-lived art installation gives back to the community

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Don’t call it a bouncy house: an art installation open to the public in Downtown Oklahoma City’s Sheridan Square from April 25 to April 27 may look like a hyped-up rendition of your kid’s last birthday party, but this inflatable work of art is all about color, and light, and supporting art education in Oklahoma City.

“A little girl, maybe five or six, said it’s was like being in a rainbow,” Gabriel Burden, a manager with Architects of Air, recounted.

That girl, in awe over what’s called a luminarium.

“You know an aquarium is with water, a luminarium is with light and color. So the light and color floods the space inside,” Gabriel explained.

The effect is breathtaking as light floods the interior of the inflatable sculpture.

The designer of the project, who is based in England, uses an inflatable structure to play with the elements that surround us.

“He gets various inspiration from nature, from gothic, Islamic architecture,” Gabriel said. “So you can see that from some of the shapes inside.”

“It’s more the way the light goes through the different colors,” Lindsey Pever, a volunteer with the John Rex Elementary School PTA explained. “That’s what makes it really fascinating. And one thing: When you read about the exhibit in different cities, one recurring thing people say is they’re sort of speechless, and they can’t really explain to you how amazing it is.”

A parent from John Rex Elementary just happened to come across the installation in another city, and that’s when the idea to bring it to OKC came about, all using a twist to support the arts in public schools.

“The idea for the event and the reason for raising money is to help John Rex and Oklahoma Public Schools keep funding arts classes, so the money will go directly to arts classes at John Rex,” Lindsey explained. “We decided we wanted to share the love, and so we contacted the Oklahoma Public Schools Foundation, and a dollar of every ticket purchase will go to the OKCPS Foundation. They will redirect that money to arts programs within the greater public schools.”

The calming effect of light also helps people who are on the spectrum.

“We also get a lot of interesting feedback about how calming it is, and how great it is maybe for their autistic son,” Gabriel said. “And you know, for people on the autistic spectrum it can work really well for them.”

The light relaxes kids who might be easily excitable, but this project isn’t just for kids: It’s also for adults.

“The light comes in from the sunshine on the side,” Gabriel explained, “and even on a gray day, it’s very beautiful because a lot light comes in and it mixes and permeates throughout the structure.”

If you want to see the Luminarium, you don’t have much time.

It’s only open to the public from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets cost $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-16 and $30 for families of four. Funds will support arts education at John W. Rex Charter Elementary School and the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

For more information, click here.

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