With GLOW’s Member Presale already up and running, we thought we’d offer some insight into this year’s exhibit. South Coast Botanic Garden is proud to once again be partnering with California Outdoor Lighting to bring this exhibit to life. Anthony Bogdanovich, owner of California Outdoor Lighting, answers some questions below that will hopefully excite and intrigue you ahead of this year’s exhibit, which opens November 20 and runs through January 17, 2022. This year’s GLOW will also feature food and drinks available for purchase, but Anthony provides insight into what will visually be new this year. Take a look and then grab your tickets! If you’re not a Member, tickets go on sale to the General Public on October 18.

Oh, and did we mention California Outdoor Lighting won an award for their work on GLOW last year?  The San Pedro-based company won the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professional’s 2021 Award of Excellence for Holiday Lighting! Congratulations, Anthony and team! 

Q: How is GLOW going to be visually different than last year?

A: It’s going to be much different in many ways but our goal has always been to present the beautiful collection of South Coast Botanic Garden in a new light. This year, we are getting out of our comfort zone a little bit, pushing the needle with new things we have never done before. It is such an amazing time to be working in the lighting industry, and having the opportunity to create something this special is not something we take lightly (no pun intended). Today’s technology, paired with our team’s amazing creativity is going to make GLOW something very special this year.

Q: What is the must-see area this year?

A: Everything!!! But in all seriousness, I am really personally excited about the Desert Garden this year. It is going to be so much different and we want the perspective to be amazing, from anywhere you look at it. The Banyan Grove is one of my favorite spaces and we are anxious for this year’s transformation, but the guys really seem to be having the most fun working on everything for The Bayou. This is going to be something very special. I don’t want to give away too many details, but the amount of thought and countless hours of work getting this ready shows me how dedicated our team is. 

Q: How many lights are you using this year compared to last year?

A: We are nearly doubling the number of fixtures and so much more will be lit this year! When people arrive, we really want them to be surrounded by color. We also are using lots of different light sources and effects. From individually addressable LEDs to projection mapping, our ability to create amazing effects from even single sources of light is changing the way we think. I really am excited about what we are able to do now, but can’t wait to see what the future of decorative lighting will look like.

Q: What do you hope people feel when they see this year’s exhibit?

A: I hope they run through a gamut of emotions. When they arrive, I really want people to feel excited, even before they get out of the car. That excitement hopefully leads to instant happy, forgetting everything else except what is happening at that moment with their loved ones. I would so love for people to understand and appreciate the art of outdoor lighting. We try to create something much different by lighting the space in a way that truly brings out the beauty of the landscape. “See the light, not the source” is so very important and often overlooked. Ultimately I want everyone to feel like they were able to create wonderful memories in a beautiful space with the people they love. That’s what this is all about.

Q: How did you get inspired for this second year?

A: That’s easy – the art of lighting and a love of nature, plain and simple. I can honestly say I love what I do so much and am extremely fortunate to have a team of people who share that passion. Lighting and sound can evoke so much feeling. For 17 years we have helped people connect with their outdoor spaces. It’s such a great feeling to see the enjoyment our work brings. I spent quite a few nights at GLOW last year and got to hear firsthand how this exhibit made people feel and used that to get motivated for this year’s exhibit.

Q: Was it hard to rethink the space after spending so much time bringing last year’s exhibit to life?

A: It’s funny, but our staff is definitely something else. We are still fabricating and building so much for this year’s display, but almost every day I hear, “You know, next year we could totally do …(enter countless ideas here).” The ideas never stop flowing around here and that’s what makes this so great! GLOW has given us the opportunity to think way outside the box, it’s kind of hard to contain the excitement around here.

Q: What was the biggest thing you learned from last year that you are implementing this year?

A: That things that may seem easy are often the opposite. Creating GLOW last year was extremely challenging. It came down to the wire and a few days before opening night, I was more than a little nervous. I learned that it takes a team with different skill sets and fantastic planning to coordinate something of this scale. We put in so many hours already this year preparing for a smooth installation and I am confident everyone will be amazed by what we were able to create.

Q: Which area do you think is going to be the fan favorite?

A: The Bayou, for sure. The amount of stuff we are bringing in to transform that space is something else. We really want everyone to feel like they are in the bayous of Louisiana. It’s going to be a lot of fun with so many things to see and be a part of. Kids of all ages should really enjoy this, especially considering how much fun us old guys are having building it!

Q: Which area do you think is going to be the photo spot?

A: The visual anywhere is going to make for great photos. The Garden has changed a little since last year with beautiful new plantings and features, the Promenade will be a gorgeous sight. There is also going to be something extra special for everyone on the walk down to the Rose Garden, but I’m not telling! The Banyan Grove will be a sight, simply because the Moreton fig trees are so impressive by themselves. In the Desert Garden, you will most definitely want to be in video mode! 

Q: Anything else that makes this year’s exhibit different or that you want people to know about GLOW 2021?

A: Anticipation adds to the excitement!  But I will say there is something here for everyone to enjoy. This exhibit is special in so many ways. We have been working so hard and I can’t wait to see this vision come to life.

The Garden relies on generous donations from our Members, visitors and community to keep access to our 87 acres open for all and to provide unique horticultural experiences that help people find connections with nature. Please help us continue this mission for years to come by considering a gift to the Garden. You can do so here.