Illumine 2023

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Illumine 2023

Oakland Cemetery comes alive again this spring with Illumine, its annual after-dark arts event.

By Historic Oakland Foundation

When and where

Date and time

April 27 · 7:30pm - May 7 · 10pm EDT


Oakland Cemetery 248 Oakland Avenue Southeast Atlanta, GA 30312

Refund Policy

No Refunds

About this event

As the sun sets, the Cemetery is transformed. Through innovative lighting displays, art installations by local artists, and live music, Illumine 2023 will shine a light on Oakland’s magnificent arboretum. Experience Oakland after dark against the inspiring backdrop of Atlanta’s glittering skyline.

In addition to exploring parts of the Cemetery after the sun goes down, Illumine attendees will also enjoy live music, craft cocktails, and an Oakland pop-up shop.

This year's theme: Trees!

This year's Illumine will explore how trees are rooted in the identity, history, and landscape of historic Oakland Cemetery, from the early oaks that inspired the name to the towering magnolias that provide shade for today’s visitors. Oakland's trees provide habitat, food, and shelter for wildlife and support the environmental health and biodiversity of Atlanta. They are imbued with meaning, symbolism, and power, and incorporated into the diverse cultural and burial practices found at Oakland.

This Year's Artists

Dorothy O’Connor – Atlanta native and past Illumine contributor O’Connor’s flock of five wooden Phoenix will represent transformation and rebirth and highlight Oakland Cemetery’s transformative ability to create and sustain life despite being a place where the reality of death is so apparent.

Gavin Bernard – Bernard, a British artist, designer, educator, and performer residing in Atlanta, will produce a large-scale sculpture that draws attention to Atlanta’s bounty of trees through an exploration of the life journey of one of Oakland’s trees.

Brooks Garcia – Garcia, also an Atlanta native, is a landscape architect who has spent time as a gardener at Oakland. His installation, The Veil is Thin, will pay homage to the Victorian fascination with the veil between the living and what comes after death, utilizing natural wood elements and floral arrangements.

Ricardo Martinez – Photographer, amateur ornithologist, and naturalist, Martinez will produce a range of photos that will highlight specific trees at Oakland and their dialogue with several bird species that are considered locally threatened.

Musical Performers:

  • Okorie Johnson: 4/27, 4/28, 5/6
  • Veronika Jackson: 4/29, 5/5
  • The Shoal Creek Stranglers: 4/30, 5/4, 5/7

Illumine 2023 Dates

Illumine 2023 takes place on the following evenings. Each evening of Illumine 2023 has a limited number of tickets to ensure the best experience for each visitor. Buy your tickets in advance to guarantee that you can experience Illumine 2023.

  • Thursday, April 27
  • Friday, April 28
  • Saturday, April 29
  • Sunday, April 30
  • Thursday, May 4
  • Friday, May 5
  • Saturday, May 6
  • Sunday, May 7


  • Adults: $20 advance / $25 at the gate*
  • VIP: $100 advance/$125 at the gate*
  • Students, Children, Seniors (65+): $15 advance / $20 at the gate*
  • Children 3 and Under: Free

*Plus taxes and fees

Illumine VIP Experience

Level up your Illumine experience with VIP status! We’re releasing a limited number of VIP tickets per night, so get yours early and enjoy

  • Exclusive access to the newly restored Oakland Bell Tower featuring amazing views from second-story balconies overlooking the Atlanta skyline and Oakland Cemetery;
  • Bell Tower VIP amenities including a VIP-only restroom, a seating area, a bar with wine and specialty cocktails, and a decadent dessert bar with a variety of sweet bites;
  • Two drink tickets;
  • Complimentary fun glow-in-the-dark accessories

All proceeds from Illumine support Historic Oakland Foundation’s mission to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery in partnership with the City of Atlanta.

Know Before You Go

  • First entry is at 7:30, but this is an evening event and you’ll be able to enter until 9:30 p.m. If you do come in before sunset, we strongly encourage you to stick around until after the sun goes down (around 8:15).
  • General Admission tickets purchased at the gate are subject to a $5 walk-up fee.
  • Illumine is a rain-or-shine event.
  • Ticket price does not include tax or fees.
  • Weapons of any kind are prohibited.
  • With the exception of service animals, pets are not allowed at Illumine.
  • For more information, please visit the Oakland Cemetery website.


Illumine’s route covers approximately one mile of roads and historic pathways. Although there are no steps on the route, historic gutters, slopes, and brick walkways might make experiencing Illumine 2023 difficult for those with limited mobility. If you are unsure if Illumine 2023 is suitable for you, contact Sandy White at to discuss your particular circumstances.

About Historic Oakland Cemetery and Historic Oakland Foundation:

Historic Oakland Cemetery is the City of Atlanta’s oldest public greenspace, an active City Cemetery, a City of Atlanta Park, and a national historic landmark. Founded in 1850, over 70,000 of the city’s residents rest in these 48 acres surrounded by unique funerary sculpture, historically restored gardens, and a verdant tree canopy. Historic Oakland Foundation (HOF) was founded in 1976 with the mission to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery in partnership with the City of Atlanta.

Questions? Email Sandy White at

About the organizer


$15 – $100