British artist Bruce Munro is lighting the hills of Nashville. Using hundreds of miles of glowing optic fiber, Munro has transformed the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art into a wonderland Lewis Carroll would have been mad to write about. While the sun sets, visitors can wander through hundreds of miles of iridescent lights and watch Munro’s “Fireflies” swarm the Japanese Bamboo Gardens. For the most rewarding experience, go late (the gardens are open late every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, until 11 pm).
Cheekwood is named after the Nashville family the Cheeks, who developed Maxwell House Coffee. When they sold the company in 1928 for $40 million (to Postum, now General Foods), the Cheeks bought 100 acres of woodland for a country estate which they later offered as a site for a botanical garden and art museum. It is an expansive landscape. We suggest taking the advice of the King in Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop” …at one of the garden bars. They’re serving Firefly Cosmos.
LIGHT: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood, photos: Martin B. Cherry, NashvilleScene.com