- This event has passed.
April 21 @ 7:30 pm - May 1 @ 10:30 pm
About the event
Illumine, Historic Oakland Foundation’s annual after-dark arts experience, returns to Oakland Cemetery this April with new history to uncover, new sections of the cemetery to explore after dark, and all-new artistic installations set against the inspiring backdrop of Atlanta’s skyline.
Throughout the cemetery, innovatively lit headstones, mausoleums, flowers, trees, and buildings will showcase Oakland Cemetery’s exquisite spring gardens along with the Foundation’s restoration efforts. Postponed from 2020, this year’s Illumine will shine a light on the historic African American Burial Grounds and the newly restored 1908 Women’s Comfort Station. Through light, shadow, texture, and sound, Illumine will share the stories of Black Atlantans who built and shaped the city from its origins as a railroad crossing to its arrival as a global city.
Visitors will discover how an investigation of Oakland’s now-unmarked graves shines a light on 19th century African American burial practices, how Oakland’s physical landscape was wrought by the class and racial issues of the day, and how the photography of Victorian-era luminary Thomas Askew (an Oakland resident) unveils a rich tableau of middle and upper-class African American life in Atlanta.
This year’s Illumine artists
This year’s artists include Lindsay McLain, Danielle Smoot, Denise Myers, Elizabeth Ingram, Quianah Upton, Valerie Crisotomo, Sherida Heath, Jasmine Nicole, Jessie Montoro, Ellex Swavoni, Thulani Vereen, Steve Bransford, and Allen Meredith.
- Okorie “OkCello” Johnson (performing April 23, 29, and 30) is an American cellist-songwriter whose artistry integrates cello performance, live-sound-looping, improvisation, and storytelling—all culminating in original compositions that collide classical with jazz, EDM, reggae, and funk.
- Veronika Jackson (performing April 22) is a singer/songwriter with a rich, soulful voice accompanied by her rhythmic, piedmont-style guitar picking. Jackson’s compelling music draws inspiration from both blues heritage and the 1960s folk music movement.
Illumine will also feature live music, craft cocktails, and an Oakland pop-up shop.
Illumine 2022 Dates
Illumine 2022 takes place on the following evenings. Each evening of Illumine 2022 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 2022.
- Thursday, April 21
- Friday, April 22
- Saturday, April 23
- Sunday, April 24
- Thursday, April 28
- Friday, April 29
- Saturday, April 30
- Sunday, May 1
Tickets are on sale now:
- Adults: $20 advance / $25 at the gate*
- Students, Children, Seniors (65+): $15 / $20 at the gate*
- Children 3 and Under: Free
*Plus taxes and fees
Questions? Email Mary Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know Before You Go
- Advanced tickets are a better value and are strongly encouraged for faster entry to the cemetery as well as to ensure that you can attend on your preferred day.
- 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 sets (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.
- 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 2022 difficult for those with limited mobility. If you are unsure if Illumine 2022 is suitable for you, contact Mary Fernandez at email@example.com to discuss your particular circumstances.
Dinner Deals at Local Restaurants
- Ziba: Take 20% off your entire bill. Dine-in only. Reservations are available at Open Table. Open Monday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.
- Firepit Pizza Tavern: Take 20% off your entire bill. Dine-in only.
- DAS BBQ: Show your ticket and get $1 off pint of Sweetwater 420 or Broken Coast (Memorial Drive location only)
What time is Illumine?
Entrance to Oakland Cemetery for Illumine 2022 begins at 7:30 p.m., and the last entrance is at 9:30 p.m. Illumine ends one hour after the last entry.
Please have your ticket (printed or on your phone with your screen set to its brightest setting) ready when you arrive at Oakland Cemetery’s main gate to speed-up entry to Illumine 2022.
What if it rains?
Illumine is a rain or shine event, and tickets are non-refundable; valid only for the date selected at the time of purchase. In case of serious inclement weather forcing an evening to be canceled, ticket-holders will be notified of how to transfer their ticket to another evening.
Is Illumine a guided walking tour?
No, unlike Oakland Cemetery’s walking tours, Illumine is a self-guided experience throughout Oakland Cemetery’s original Six Acres, Bell Tower Ridge, historic African American Burial Grounds, and portions of East Hill, including the restored Women’s Comfort Station. As the sun sets, lights transform the cemetery, highlighting previously unseen elements of Oakland’s landscapes, gardens, and history.
The route will be illuminated, and visitors are asked to please stay within the designated route.
When you arrive at Illumine, scan the QR code on the Welcome Lantern for a route map with additional info about the event. Additional Illumine 2022 content will be available through the Oakland website and Instagram feed during the event.
I attended Illumine before. What’s different this time?
In response to 2019’s success, we’ve expanded the program to include two weekends, April 21-24 and April 28-May 1. We’ve also moved this year’s entry time forward to ensure that visitors experience the best possible lighting to view Illumine’s installations. Illumine 2022 visits new areas of the cemetery, and includes new lighting elements from a range of Atlanta artists and lighting designers.
How do I get to Oakland Cemetery? Click here for directions to Oakland Cemetery.
Where should I park?
Limited $10 parking will be available in the Oakland lots on Martin Luther King Dr and Grant Street. Please plan to pay for parking with exact change or Paypal (no change will be provided; anything over will be considered a donation). Off-street parking is also available on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Biggers Street.
Please remove all valuables from your vehicle. Historic Oakland Foundation is not responsible for theft and/or damage to vehicles.
Please consider other means of transportation including MARTA (the King Memorial station is a very short walk from the main gates of Oakland Cemetery), rideshare apps, or taxi.
What should I wear?
Dress appropriately for this outdoor walking experience and wear appropriate footwear for Oakland’s historic walkways.
Is Illumine family-friendly?
Absolutely. We encourage families and friends to experience Oakland Cemetery together.
Are outside food or beverages allowed?
No outside food or beverages are allowed at Oakland Cemetery during Illumine. Beer, wine, and cocktails (from Old 4th Distillery), as well as soft drinks and snacks, will be available for purchase at three bars throughout the Cemetery.
Is it OK to bring my dog?
With the exception of service animals, pets are not permitted at Illumine. Because this is a nighttime event, and with large crowds expected, please leave your four-legged friends at home.
What kind of payment do you accept?
This event is card only. Cash will be accepted, but we cannot make change. Any cash given over cost will be considered a donation to Historic Oakland Foundation. Thank you for your understanding.
What time does Oakland close to prepare for Illumine?
All visitors to the park are asked to exit by 5:00 p.m. on the days of the event to allow Foundation staff to set up for Illumine 2022.
Who benefits from Illumine?
All proceeds from Illumine (and all of Historic Oakland Foundation’s tours, programs, and events) support Historic Oakland Foundation’s mission to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery in partnership with the City of Atlanta.
How can I share my Illumine experience?
Use the hashtag #Illumine2022 and tag @oaklandcemetery to share your Illumine experience with your friends and family.
We are grateful to the following sponsors: