Think of surround sound in color. Think of colored light streaming from stained glass windows in all directions. Think of tunnels of color so intense they transform faces and clothing. Think of the womb, and being in it.
Those are typical reactions to the Architects of Air luminarium.
Opening Saturday for a weeklong stay at Turner Park, the luminarium is a monumental inflatable structure that looks like a cross between a kids' bounce house and a complex of onion-shaped domes all coated in silver. People can wander through it, in bare feet, following a map.
The luminarium is an 11,000-square-foot maze of tunnels immersing visitors in light and color. It is made of a half-millimeter-thick PVC with opaque silver gray parts and translucent colored parts. The plastic is resistant enough for visitors to wander around inside the structure and thin enough to let daylight through.
“The concept is based on natural daylight filtering through the colored translucide parts, and that then reflects onto the silver opaque to create a wide variety of subtle hues,” said Mado Ehrenborg, Architects of Air's managing director.
Architects of Air information
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and June 30; noon to 6 p.m. Monday through June 29.
Tickets: $5 per person; free for children 2 and younger. Tickets can be purchased, cash or credit card only, in the lobby of Building Three in Farnam Court, 120 S. 31st Ave. Tickets go on sale one hour before opening each day. Space inside the luminarium is limited. Guests are asked to arrive early to gain admission. Ticket sales end at 5:30 p.m. each day. Groups of 12 or more are asked to call 402-351-5954.
Where: The structure will be set up on the east end of Turner Park. On-street and garage parking are available at Midtown Crossing. The rain call will be made by Architects of Air and East Campus Realty staff. Tickets may be used for entrance the next day only. No refunds.
More information: Architects of Air is handicap and wheelchair accessible. No food, drinks, strollers or pets will be admitted. Shoes must be removed to enter the luminarium; socks are recommended. More information at architects-of-air.com
More on the luminarium
The structure takes about four hours to assemble. After the modular pods are zipped together, the entire structure can be inflated in 20 minutes.
Since 1992, more than two million visitors in 37 countries and on five continents have entered this unusual sculpture. There are several styles of luminaria. The Mirazozo, the name of the structure being set up here, has been touring the United States. Most recently, it was in Pittsburgh. Omaha will be its first time in the Midwest. Next stop will be St. Paul, Minn., in late August.
The luminaria — five are on tour — were designed by company founder Alan Parkinson who started experimenting with pneumatic sculptures in the 1980s. They are made at the company base in Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Only four colors are used to generate the diversity of hues.
Each luminarium is made up of 20 or so elements that are zipped together on site. The domes, inspired by Gothic cathedrals and Islamic architecture, provide the main focal points.
A walk through the luminarium takes about 15 minutes, said Molly Skold, marketing director for East Campus Realty. The tunnels determine the journey the visitor will take, but the luminarium also features alcoves where visitors can sit and relax, out of the way of others. All of the proceeds from the Architects of Air will be donated to the Nebraska Arts Council.
Also at Turner Park on Sunday
Midtown Crossing's Turner Park will be abuzz with things to do on Sunday, including face painting, balloon artists and fitness activities. Here's the rundown:
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Omahan Michael Fitzsimmons will give a Drums of the World Concert featuring rare instruments from Switzerland called Hang (bell drums). It will be followed by a drum circle involving the audience.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Renee Crosby, also of Omaha, will entertain with juggling.
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Joan Wells is in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. The Lincoln resident is a world champion trick roper who has appeared in “The Will Rogers Follies,” the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and reenactments of the Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill “Wild West Shows.”
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Musician David Marsh of Denton, Neb., offers a program featuring more than a dozen instruments, including accordion, banjo, bagpipes, autoharp, percussion and harmonica.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Krandel Newton of Dallas, Texas, is the “Original Butt Sketch Artist.” He has drawn more than 250,000 derrieres, some of them fairly famous. He has sketched the behinds of Alex Trebek of “Jeopardy,” former NFL star Lawrence Taylor, actor Danny Glover, Bill Gates, Queen Latifah and chef Wolfgang Puck. In less than 3 minutes, he can do a charcoal pencil drawing of your bottom line.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Omahan Matt Seeley is a sidewalk chalk artist, who will display his temporary street paintings.
4:15 p.m. — “Despicable Me” will be shown at Marcus Midtown Cinema. The movie is free but seating is limited.
Family fitness activities include: Noon to 12:45 p.m., Zumba 1; 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Zumba 2; 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., dog yoga; 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., family yoga; 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., hula-hoop yoga; and 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Yoga Rocks the Park.
All about bubbles: Omaha's Children's Museum's bubbleologists will bring the bubbles and the museum's signature bubble juice.
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