Things To Do

Twilight Epiphany Skyscape

Built in 2012 after a five-year process, artist James Turrell created the Twilight Epiphany Skyspace art installation next to the Shepherd School of Music on the Rice University campus.

The two-level pyramidal structure features a light sequence that occurs twice a day—once at dawn, once at sunset. The composition of LED light compliments the natural light present at twilight, and projects it onto the ceiling and through an aperture of a 72-food square thin roof.

The installation is constructed of grass, concrete, stone and composite steel, and is engineered to promote optimal acoustics for musical performances and to act as a stage for music school students on selected days.

Visitors sit in a pavilion below and watch the colors on the square change as the color of the sky changes at twilight. Reservations are free on their website and typically required for the sunset light sequence.

The artist, James Turrell has created various Skyscapes around the globe to use light to extend and enhance perception. The Twilight Epiphany Skyscape is one of his largest and the first to be engineered for acoustics. Vistors can check the calendar on the website for any scheduled music performances.

Visitor Tips

There is no physical address for the Skyscape. The closest cross streets are University at Stockton. There are paid visitor parking in various locations throughout the Rice Campus.

The website notes when the light sequence starts, not when sunrise or sunset begins. It recommends arriving 15 minutes prior to the posted times. The sunrise light sequence begins approximately 40 minutes before the actual sunrise and the sunset light sequence begins about 8 to 10 minutes before sunset. The sequences last for around 40 minutes.

There is bench seating in both the lower and upper viewing areas and the sequence begins no matter what the weather conditions are. Docents may ask visitors to exit the Skyspace if there is lightning, however.

While within the installation, they request quiet and no camera use so as not to interfere with the light performance. Any pictures of the event can be taken outside the installation without flash. For expectation purposes, think of this as more of a meditative art experience versus something like a laser light show.

Looking for a contemplative experience? Try a sunrise performance as fewer people attend at that time. Some people use earbuds to listen to music quietly as the light performance progresses.

For runners and walkers, there are trails around the Rice Campus and at nearby Herman Park to combine with the Skyscape experience.

Twilight Epiphany Skyscape
Rice University Campus
Near University at Stockton

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