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For Immediate Release: Tues., April 24

Contact: Julie LaBar ǀ Director of Marketing and Communications
412/622-6915, ext. 3801 ǀ


Phipps Conservatory’s Gardens of Sound and Motion Takes Guests on an Immersive New Sensory Adventure
Look and listen as spectacular interactive soundscapes, visual art and kinetic motion installations bring the stunning summer show to life.

Pittsburgh, PA — Delight your senses at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Summer Flower Show: Gardens of Sound and Motion opening Sat., April 28.  Featuring contemporary installations by artists from Pittsburgh and beyond, this exciting new show will immerse visitors in a world of beauty filled with interactive art, music and flowers that will spark creativity and unfold imagination. The whole family will enjoy this thrilling sensory adventure, surrounded by colorful blooms, surprises and special effects!

“Continuing with the sensory themes of our shows this year, Phipps Conservatory’s Summer Flower Show pairs stunning flowers with exciting sensory experiences, bringing contemporary new artistic elements into each unique display,” stated Phipps’ associate director of exhibits and show designer Jordyn Melino. 

Guests visiting the fluttering friends of Butterfly Forest will experience a dynamic soundscape designed by students at Carnegie Mellon University.  Phipps’ Butterfly Forest features a contemporary sound art installation made up of hundreds of sounds that continuously evolve and change into generative compositions, adding new dimensions of immersion and excitement to the vibrant world of butterflies.  

Visitors can follow the sounds through an enchanted woodland inhabited by friendly topiary giants, intricately decorated with living wreath chandeliers and hanging trees in hues of blue, orange and yellow in the Serpentine Room, a display unlike anything guests have ever seen at Phipps.

Show highlights also include a custom audiovisual installation in the South Conservatory where a network of lights entwines branches in the canopy of trees overhead, responding to a continuously evolving soundscape created by sound artist and experimental musician Jesse Stiles. Six umbrella flower sculptures stand below, surrounded by actual umbrella plants (Schefflera ‘Amate’) and summer plantings in bright pinks, purples, peaches and yellows.

Wind sculptures created by renowned artist Lyman Whitaker will mesmerize visitors in the Sunken Garden. The supersized copper creations make beautiful, complex patterns with each gentle breeze, with breathtaking moving mobiles in vibrant shades of green, white and blue suspended over colorful bromeliads, Anthurium and Caladium plants. Whitaker’s magnificent sculptures are also displayed outside Phipps’ entrance to provide a welcoming display and scenic photo opportunity.

All ages will enjoy connecting to nature like never before with Music of the Plants™, a special musical instrument that lets visitors interact with living plants as they respond to voice and touch.  Guests can even create their own fountain show – and its musical soundtrack - in the Victoria Room, making water dance in a new interactive installation by artist Jakob Marsico of Ultra Low Res Studio. With a simple touch of the hand, guests can control the height of the fountain jets in the expansive pond display.  

“‘Surreal’ is the word that inspired each room design, collaborating with artists who bring different perspectives and acclaimed artistry to this spectacular show,” says Melino. “The addition of soundscapes and art in motion dramatically transform each space, making Gardens of Sound and Motion a truly immersive, fun experience.”

Summer Flower Show: Gardens of Sound and Motion was designed by Phipps’ Exhibit Coordinator Jordyn Melino and features the work of Lyman Whitaker presented by Leopold Gallery, Jesse Stiles, Jakob Marsico of Ultra Low Res Studio and the Experimental Sound Synthesis students of Carnegie Mellon University.

Hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $17.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors and students, and $11.95 for children (2 – 18). Members and kids under 2 enter free.


About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Phipps commemorates its 125th anniversary throughout 2018, celebrating its historic past, vibrant present and exciting future ahead — including inspiring seasonal flower shows, community events, public programs and groundbreaking green innovation. Learn more at

Select photos © Paul g. Wiegman