Light Pond and The Secret Garden - CODAworx

Light Pond and The Secret Garden

Submitted by Betsy Connors

Client: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Project Team


Betsy Connors

ACME Holography

Art Consultant

Lydia Lopoukhine

LFA ART Management, LLC


Light Pond and the secret garden is a work commissioned by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for the lobby of their new Jimmy Fund Clinics for children’s cancer care. The work is a triptych of three-color holograms depicting a pond scene with turtles, frogs, foliage, fish etc. and LED fireflies programmed to appear randomly behind the pond. The three-dimensional work is composed entirely of light. The glowing leaves project out in front of the wall that houses the three two-dimensional 30 X 30 inch holograms, with the diorama like illuminated pond and fish projecting eighteen inches deep, behind the wall.


The goal of the Dana-Farber Art and Environment Committee for the two new pediatric clinics being built was to find a work of art that would surprise and delight it’s youngest patients. They wanted both the medium and the subject of the artwork to be interesting to young people who have to return to the clinic often. Art and technology inspires wonder and curiosity and the magic of holograms and children have always had a natural connection. There is a lobby between the main clinic and the infusion center where children can wander as they wait for visits. The holograms are installed in cut out windows in a new wall built where there was an existing lobby wall. The only maintenance on the project is changing the three main white LED spot lights that play back the holograms and also cleaning finger and nose prints from the safety glass that protect the holograms. The work is not only a favorite of the young patients but is loved by older patients, hospital staff, and the many visitors to the DFCI Jimmy Fund lobby.


The artist exchanged ideas with several hospital committees after an initial invitation from Lydia Lopoukhine of LFA Art Management to present work to the DFCI Art and Environment Committee. They select and commission artwork for the hospital. The committee is composed of hospital staff, DFCI architects, consultants and volunteer supporters. Two proposals were developed after further considerations from feedback meetings with staff, architects and supporters. After one proposal was accepted the artist began regular meetings with the hospital architects and an outside design team and contractors.
A main consideration in the design integration was that the transmission holograms are illuminated with white light from above and behind the holograms which initially put the new wall out three feet into the lobby The architects needed to keep the new wall close to the existing wall because of the ceiling design and openings to the heavily trafficked space. Working collaboratively the artist, architects, design, and contractor teams came up with a unique periscope mirror solution for lighting the holograms, cutting the space required initially in half. The wonderful attention this work gathered when it was first installed has been sustained over several months.