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Fan-favorite light installation returns to Golden Gate Park for the holidays

Charles Gadeken’s light sculpture, “Entwined,” returns to Golden Gate Park in December. | Courtesy of Jason Chinn

Fans of the Candyland-like forest of glowing LED wonders that occupied Golden Gate Park’s Peacock Meadow last fall and winter will be happy to know that Charles Gadeken’s illuminated art installation, Entwined, is set to re-enchant that little glade later this year.

Starting Dec. 1 and running through March 12, 2023, an updated version titled Entwined Meadow once again brings joy to a corner of the park that doesn’t always see large-scale activations. After debuting in 2020, its well-loved initial run was extended by several months, and the installation’s return coincides with the lighting of San Francisco’s holiday tree, outside McLaren Lodge at the park’s eastern edge.

The original 2020-21 run of Charles Gadeken's arboreal art installations was extended because of popular demand. | Photo by Jason Chinn

Entwined Meadow’s new arrangement maintains the original’s clusters of trees, their LEDs constantly shifting. But this year is all about increased interactivity, including a “fallen tree” seating area, smaller pieces by other artists scattered throughout and QR codes that allow visitors to program their own color patterns and sequencing. In cooperation with the Recreation and Parks Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance, Gadeken’s team will rig up a state-of-the-art sound system with omnidirectional sound capabilities to enable twice-a-week live performances.

Golden Gate Park’s main thoroughfare has become a hotbed of interactive public art called the Golden Mile. In the run-up to next Tuesday’s election—which includes three competing ballot measures that will determine the future of car-free JFK Drive—local nonprofit Illuminate has installed Doggie Diner heads, 100 yellow chairs, giant wooden blocks that spell out “LOVE” and a beer garden, among other elements, intended to draw people to the park by day and night.

Beyond Entwined Meadow and the nearby holiday tree, light projections on the Conservatory of Flowers and the Ferris wheel at the Music Concourse have given locals and out-of-towners alike new reasons to visit the park after dark.

Gadeken has become something of a San Francisco regular. An industrial artist who’s won commissions at Burning Man, Coachella and in various Bay Area cities, he specializes in whimsical, approachable depictions of familiar objects, often oversize. In 2018, his piece Squared achieved temporary landmark status at Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley, its LED sugar cubes visible for blocks.

Entwined Meadow

Dec. 1 – March 12, 2023 | Free
Peacock Meadow, Golden Gate Park

Astrid Kane can be reached at