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New exhibit offers a new perspective at Longwood Gardens

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STORY WRITTEN BY MONICA THOMPSON FRAGALE 
For Digital First Media

Longwood Gardens will transform into a living canvas this summer through its newest exhibit, “Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience by Klip Collective.”
Beginning July 1, on Wednesday through Saturday nights, visitors can see the Gardens in a new light — in the dark of night.
“Using our Gardens as the inspiration and the canvas, Klip Collective is creating an imaginary visual and sound experience,” Executive Director Paul B. Redman said in a phone interview. “It is something I promise no one has ever seen before.”
Topiaries that seemingly come to life. Palm trees that glitter like jewels. The Flower Garden Drive that transforms into “an undersea fantasia.”
“It’s an inspired abstract emotional journey,” said Philadelphia-based Klip Co-Founder and Creative Director Ricardo Rivera. “It’s your story to make up.”
Klip is a visual art shop that utilizes video projection technology, lighting and storytelling to create an experience like no other. Rivera has projected on cars, bath tubs, buildings, and water, among other things. But projecting onto plants was a first for him.
“We found some things worked, and some things didn’t,” Rivera said in a phone interview. “(We discovered that) what we’re projecting on was just as important as what we’re projecting.”

A view of "Nightscape." Photo by Harold H. Davis, a Longwood volunteer

A view of “Nightscape.”
Photo by Harold H. Davis, a Longwood volunteer

“Nightscape” is the result of more than a year’s work — of unfettered access to the Gardens at night, of testing and adjusting projections on plants, of working with composers to match the original music they would create to the vision he had for each space — and is an interpretation of each space “through movement, color, light, and sound, feeding off what’s there and illuminating it with our imaginations in a playful way,” according to Rivera.
For Redman, the new exhibit represents an opportunity to showcase what Longwood Gardens has to offer once the sun sets. It is the canvas for Klip’s and Rivera’s artwork and, in Redman’s eyes, is difficult to find the words to adequately describe what awaits visitors.
“(Rivera’s) perspective is going to be great,” he said. “We are really excited.”
Also awaiting visitors to “Nightscape” is a beer garden featuring pub-style fare and Victory-brewed beers. In keeping with its “Locally Brewed, Locally Loved” motto, the Downingtown- and Kennett Square-based Victory Brewing Co. is crafting a beer specific to Longwood Gardens — “Longwood Seasons: Summer Zest” — that is made with lemons grown at the world-renowned horticultural destination.
Another Longwood-specific beer will be unveiled in the fall, according to Redman.
The Beer Garden menu features dishes like margarita flatbread and barbecue pork nachos, mushroom soup, pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, and Bee Sting Cake.
Throughout the exhibit, the Beer Garden will play host to live music weekly by regional artists every Thursday, as well as a new Artist & Friends speaker series that will introduce visitors to Rivera and his colleagues in the non-traditional media world.

IF YOU GO

What: “Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience by Klip Collective”
When: Wednesdays through Saturdays from July 1-Oct. 31
Time: 6 to 11 p.m.
What you need to know: Special tickets are required and include all-day Gardens admission. Members are free but need to make a reservation. Admission is $27 for adults ages 19 and up; $17 for students ages 5 to 18; and free for ages 4 and under.
On the Web: www.longwoodgardens.org/nightscape
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What: Live music at the Beer Garden
When: Thursdays from 7 to 10 p.m.
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What: Soundscapes: Composers for “Nightscape”
When: July 10 at 7 and 9 p.m.
Where: Beer Garden
What you need to know: Speakers are Jon Barthmus, composer for the music duo Sun Airway; and Julian Grefe and Justin Geller, founders of Pink Skull.
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What: Alternative Storytelling
When: Sept. 11 at 7 and 9 p.m.
Where: Beer Garden
What you need to know: Speakers are Yelena Rachitsky, creative producer for Future of StoryTelling; and Kamal Sinclair, co-director of New Frontier Story Lab, Sundance Institute
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What: Effects of Technology on the Art of Storytelling
When: Oct. 9 at 7 and 9 p.m.
Where: Beer Garden
What you need to know: Speakers are Navid Knonsari, executive producer with Ink Stories; and Torfi Frans Olafsson, creative director with EVE Universe IP
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What: Gardens on Tap
When: Sept. 16 and Oct. 31, 7 and 9 p.m.
Where: Beer Garden
What you need to know: Explore the art, chemistry and horticulture behind botanically inspired cocktails, spirits and brews

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