Cistern Illuminated Returns to the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

The second annual light installation will feature new interactive elements

Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) launches their second annual Cistern Illuminated, a site-specific winter light installation in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Houston artist/engineer Kelly O’Brien returns for another holiday season, this time incorporating new audio and visual elements to create a more fully immersive experience.

Cistern Illuminated debuted in November 2022 and presented the public with a completely new view of this historic space. Lighting instruments controlled by customized software cast colored light throughout the space. The special angle of these lights created an uncanny reflection of the Cistern’s ceiling on the glassy water below.

This year’s installation will further amplify the features of this 1920s industrial relic, from its cavernous expanse to its repeating columns which appear infinite due to the Cistern’s illusory qualities. Beyond these visual elements, the 2023 installation makes use of the space’s extraordinary acoustics, exciting for new and repeat visitors alike.

BBP offers tours of the Cistern year-round, but Cistern Illuminated is only available for a limited time showing through Sunday, January 7, 2024.

In addition to tours that allow guests to view the installation, choral performances by the Schola Cantorum of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart will take place on select dates, highlighting the Cistern’s unique acoustic qualities and bringing music to this already ethereal experience.

Tickets for Cistern Illuminated are available here.

Photos: V. Sweeten