Sensorio draws praise and attention to Paso Robles

The new outdoor lighted art installation, Sensorio off Highway 46 East, is drawing praise and attention to Paso Robles from all over. Here are a few excerpts of media coverage from Travel+Leisure magazine, Forbes magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more.

Artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light installation ranks high on our list of pilgrimage-worthy art escapes. The immersive art piece comprises 50,000 shimmering lights, spread over a vast desert landscape and set against the backdrop of Uluru, the most sacred site in the Australian Outback.

Getting to Uluru isn’t the easiest (or most affordable) journey. Which is why we couldn’t be more excited to learn that, starting today, visitors can experience the artist’s singular vision in a much more accessible locale: Paso Robles, California.

The solar-powered installation — Munro’s largest yet — will occupy a 15-acre slice of undulating hillside in the charming wine country town, about 4 hours by car north of Los Angeles. Several years in the making, the site-specific installation, titled Field of Light at Sensorio, is meant to complement, never compete or detract from, the beauty of the landscape.

Travel + Leisure

Ten years in the making, Sensorio is finally offering a first glimpse of the project to the public. A unique destination in central California, Sensorio is using a well-considered mix of technology, art installations and community elements that culminates into an experience that stays with you.

The privately funded, wellness experiment is tapping into the $595 billion mind/body wellness industry (2017) thanks to the focus on experiential and community elements. The current jewel in Sensorio’s crown is ‘Field of Light’, an installation by the British artist Bruce Munro focused around reflection and wellness. 58,800 ‘stemmed spheres’ (see below) lit by solar-powered fibre-optics.

Each bulb gently pulsates as visitors walk around the canyon whatever route they choose through the canyon the Sensorio team created to maximise visitor pleasure. The canyon has multiple points that fully immerse the visitor where no human-made structures are visible, and the individual can blend into the experience and gets bathed in light. In total, the field took over 20 people six weeks to carefully place each stemmed sphere to create the right effect.

Forbes Magazine

It looks like a map of neural pathways, like the offspring of “Avatar’s” Tree of Souls, like a Dutch tulip field crossed with a species of bioluminescent plankton and planted on the meadows of Central California. It is the largest-to-date installation of artist Bruce Munro’s “Field of Light,” decorating the hillsides of the new Sensorio gardens in Paso Robles from May 19 to Jan. 5, 2020.

Munro, a former commercial lighting designer, created his first Field of Light in the early 2000s, inspired by visiting Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory, where he felt an energy rising from the ground.

“If I could have painted more successfully, maybe I would have made a painting,” he says. Instead, he became fixated on communicating the sensation through light, creating a connected network of glass spheres on narrow stems that glow in a series of changing colors. It took nine years for him to complete the first iteration at his home in the United Kingdom, an obsession he likens to a young Richard Dreyfuss, compulsively sculpting his mashed potatoes into the Devil’s Tower in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Artist Bruce Munro has created a kaleidoscopic field of colour in California, occupying a 15-acre valley above the wine town of Paso Robles.

Field of Light at Sensorio comprises 58,800 lollipop-shaped LEDs which are lit by fibre-optics. It is the artist’s most substantial work to date and took several years to create, with each element powered by the sun. Together, the LEDs takes on the appearance of a super bloom during the day and a Northern Lights type spectacle at night.

The Spaces, art and architectural magazine

The newest tourist attraction at the intersection of art and Instagram is Field of Light, a walk-through outdoor installation near Paso Robles.

The display, which opened to the public on Sunday, allows visitors to stroll among fiber-optic lights on 15 acres. Created by Bruce Munro, it is the first exhibit at the “experiential event space” Sensorio.

Sensorio opens amid a wave of interest in immersive attractions ranging from the Museum of Ice Cream to the Santa Fe-based phenomenon Meow Wolf, which describes its exhibits as “art installations with multimedia elements and a mysterious narrative.”

Field of Light is expected to remain open until January. Hours during May are 7–11 p.m.; they’ll shift throughout the year to reflect twilight times. Sensorio is off Highway 46 four miles east of Highway 101.

Tickets for adults are $27 (Wednesday or Thursday) or $30 (Friday, Saturday or Sunday); those for children 2–12 are $9 on Wednesday, $18 on Thursday and $19 Friday-Sunday. The price does not include tax and online ticket fee.

– San Jose Mercury News

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