Do Not Miss the Nature of Light at The Paine This Fall!

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The Paine is giving us a great reason for a late bedtime this fall. The Nature of Light: An Exploration After Dark is an absolute must for your 2022 fall bucket list. The gorgeous illuminated installations give an immersive experience that will captivate visitors of all ages. It was easily the most magical experience we’ve had this summer; frankly, it will probably be the most memorable experience of this whole year!

You’ll be greeted at the entrance to the grounds of The Paine Art Center and Gardens by helpful staff that checks your group in at your reservation time and let you know how to navigate the exhibit. If you plan to see both the indoor and outdoor exhibits, you’ll start by entering the mansion at the main entrance. You might need to wait a short bit to allow space between groups to explore the installations—the rooms are best viewed with fewer people to get the full experience of the beauty of the patterns made by the light sculptures. The indoor experience is definitely worth adding, the installations are breathtaking.

Check out this neat video from Heather Stinson!

Outside, the explosion of light around the lawns and gardens from 36 sculptures is a wonder to explore at your own pace. The first sculpture on the lawn is best viewed from a distance, and if you move slowly around it, the shape morphs most delightfully. Our family enjoyed spending time watching the big tree in front of the mansion change colors. The paths through the gardens are covered with patterns thrown out from the sculptures, the trees are lit, and there is music playing throughout. You’ll definitely want to spend time lingering in your favorite spots. The Paine invites you to interact (gently) with the sculptures, and you are welcome to walk through more than once if you’d like. There is even a sculpture that you can walk inside of on the rear lawn!

rear lawn paine with light sculptures

What To Expect at The Nature of Light: An Exploration After Dark

  • How long does it take to explore the exhibits?
    • Plan for at least an hour and a half. There were a lot of spots that members of our family wanted to stop and really enjoy. We spent about two and a half hours with most of our time being spent outdoors.
  • What if it rains?
    • Bring your rainboots and umbrella because the exhibit only closes for severe weather. Refunds will only be provided if the event is forced to close for the evening due to prolonged severe weather.
  • Are the outdoor areas stroller friendly?
    • While the paths are fully accessible and would be fine to push a stroller on, it might be a better plan to use a baby carrier for your littlest family members. Spaces can get a little tight if there are a lot of visitors.
  • Are there bathrooms?
    • When you arrive, you’ll see a few porta-potties outside of the gate. If you are not going inside The Paine, you’ll definitely want to make sure that no one needs to make a stop before you start your journey through the exhibits. There are not restrooms available again until the end of the outdoor paths. Inside there are restrooms to use also before you head outside.
  • Where do we park?
    • There are signs to direct you to a lot about a half a block away from the entrance. Parking is free, and there were plenty of spaces when we arrived.
  • Are there any snacks?
    • There is a concession stand and tables at the end of the exhibit. There are just a few treats and beverages on the menu if you want to make a little stop before heading back to your car.
  • Is it okay to touch the sculptures?
    • No need to worry about keeping your kids on the path or helping them to resist touching the magical sculptures. There are parts of the exhibit that lead you through paths where there are gardens all the way to the edges, so you’ll want to help them to avoid stepping on plants but the sculptures are mostly placed in spots where it is easy to interact with them. They do ask that you avoid swinging or spinning the sculptures.
    • There is a sculpture on the lawn in the back of the mansion that you can walk into! It might be easy to miss if there aren’t other visitors around. It is far to the left, and the opening is slightly to the left also.
    • On the way out on your left, there is a large kaleidoscope with multiple viewers. The viewer farthest from the front has a small step to help little visitors to reach the eyeglass. A helpful staff member suggested quickly spinning the bowl with plants and small light sculptures while turning the viewers’ base for a really cool effect. Keep an eye out for this area as you’re reaching the end—it is a really fun stop.
  • Can we visit during the day?
    • The Paine offers daylight viewing during regular visiting hours, and admission includes viewing the sculptures located both inside the mansion and outdoors in the gardens. During daytime hours, the Paine also offers crafts and activities for children in the Studio, located on the lower level of the mansion. Reservations are recommended.


  • Admission
    • Prices vary depending on when you decide to visit, and there is a discount for members.
      • Weekday tickets are less than weekends.
      • Reservations start at $16 for adults; $12 for youth ages 5-17
      • Free admission for ages 4 and under.
    • There is a Preview Presentation through September 8th with discounted tickets available. The preview is the same exhibit as the later Premier Presentation period.
      • Members are free during the preview! Tip: Buying a membership makes a lot of budget sense if you plan to visit again during the Nutcracker at the Castle and summer events in the gardens.
      • Reservations start at $8 for adults; $6 for youth ages 5-17 during the preview.
      • Community First Credit Union members receive 2 for 1 admission for the Main Experience during the Preview Presentation period.
    • There are two options for reservations. The Main Experience includes full access to the outdoor exhibits. Upgrading to the Ultimate Experience for an additional fee adds access to seven rooms inside the mansion that will also host lighting installations, including a major display in the Main Gallery.
  • Dates
    • Preview: August 8 – September 8, 2022, Monday – Thursday only, plus Sunday, Aug. 14 & 21
    • Premier Presentation: September 12 – October 30, 2022, Monday – Sunday Daily
  • Hours: Sunset to 10 pm

About the Artists

The Nature of Light: An Exploration After Dark is a collaboration between HYBYCOZO, a duo of international artists who create large and intricate illuminated sculptures, and Lightswitch, an international lighting design firm. This event will be the pair’s first collaboration on a major exhibition.

HYBYCOZO, the Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone, is an installation arts and sculpture studio focused on creating large-scale artworks that investigate geometric forms through light, shadow and perception. HYBYCOZO’s work has been exhibited throughout the world from the Smithsonian to Burning Man, and from Dubai to Singapore.

Lightswitch, an experiential lighting and visual design practice with studios throughout the world, has created major lighting experiences for artists like Elton John and Imagine Dragons and theme parks including The Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios. The firm has also developed exhibitions for numerous botanical gardens and parks, including the Morton Arboretum in Chicago which attracts more than 400,000 people each year.

The Paine Art Center and Gardens
1410 Algoma Boulevard, Oshkosh, WI 54901

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