Interactive Neon Audio Experiment Comes to Dorothea Dix Park in May

neon tubes for dix park experiment
April 4, 2018

Raleigh-based neon artist Nate Sheaffer will debut his interactive public art installation at Dorothea Dix Park titled Light the Woods with Sound in May. This one-of-a-kind installation will be on display Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from May 11 through May 27.

From large-scale performances to intimate workshops, each night of Light the Woods with Sound has been designed to create an experience for everyone. Guests on Fridays will be able to observe how artists can use the installation to merge sound and light and try it themselves. Saturday nights will feature performances by both local artists and iconic musicians in a concert-style setting. Sunday “playshops” are a chance for guests to meet the artist, ask behind-the-scene questions, and experiment with the cutting edge technology that makes this installation unique.

According to Public Art Director, Kelly McChesney, “Nate Sheaffer’s neon and sound installation is an experiment in collaboration through the interaction of art and technology. Our community wants to live in a city where they can be inspired, collaborate, and share new and innovative ideas. This project gives us a new environment to think, play, and create together.”

Visit to learn more about each event. Performances will begin at 8pm. Food trucks will provide dinner and dessert options on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 7pm. Saturday nights will also host local breweries.


OPENING WEEKEND, May 11 – May 13
May 11 Jam Session
May 12 Opening Night Concert
May 13 Playshop

HOOPLA WEEKEND, May 18 – May 20May 18 Jam Session
May 19 Concert
May 20 Playshop

LO-FI SCI-FI WEEKEND, May 25 – May 27
May 25 Jam Session
May 26 Concert
May 27 Playshop


About the installation: 

Each of the installation’s 384 handcrafted neon components are suspended from a grove of oak trees in Dix Park and connected to an interactive custom sound interface. The audio interface is comprised of a series of theremins - electronic musical instruments controlled without using physical contact - and Moog synthesizers. Audience members are invited to play the installation alongside pre-programmed musical riffs during scheduled events. Mr. Sheaffer draws on 30 years of glass blowing experience to create Light the Woods with Sound. He runs a creative and production studio, GLAS Neon in Raleigh. “Light and music appeal to us on primitive levels, reaching into the core of our minds’ response to the world around us. For me, music, light, and art are inseparable, essential.”


This project is made possible by the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy, the Office of Raleigh Arts and the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. Partners for this public art project include Glas Neon, Optic Artworks, and Emily Alexander.




About the City of Raleigh and Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy:

The City of Raleigh owns and operates Dorothea Dix Park. The Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that exists to support the City in its efforts, serve as its philanthropic partner, and help ensure the creation and long-term success of Dorothea Dix Park. |