American Wonders: California's glowing "Field of Light"

American Wonders: The "Field of Light"

"CBS This Morning" is launching a new summer series called "American Wonders." From majestic natural landscapes to spectacular creations, we'll explore places each week that make America wonderful. This week, CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas visits a California art installation known as the "Field of Light."


Set in a hillside in the central California city of Paso Robles is an art installation called the "Field of Light." It's 15 acres filled with tiny light bulbs of vibrant colors — and it only comes alive for visitors when it's dark outside.  

At Sensorio, an immersive art venue in the area, more than 58,000 solar-powered spheres shimmer in Paso Robles' fields. The installation is the work of British artist Bruce Munro.

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The "Field of Light" at night CBS News

"All I'd say to everybody is, "keep looking at nature, and all the answers are there for us to discover," Munro said.

"It's what the world needs right now," said visitor Nancy Myers. "You see all the beautiful light and potential and possibility."  

Munro got the idea for the installation when he visited Uluru, Australia in 1992. Near ancient sandstone considered sacred to the indigenous peoples, Munro experienced a kind of revelation.

"I felt that… there was this sort of energy coming out of the floor of the desert," he said. "That's when I realized how you feel and expressing how you feel is really a very important part of art."

After the death of his father and turning 40 himself, Munro felt the need to create something more. So he bought a home in England with a field behind it, and refinanced it in order to build his first field of light — without telling his wife.

"There wasn't really a discussion at the time. And I promise you, I've never done this before — or since," he said. "My wife wasn't pleased when she saw that the fields sort of sporting these flowers of light… And she looked into the heavens and thought, 'Oh my God, what's he done?' I did say I'm sorry. And she's forgiven me."

Munro went back to Uluru to create the first large-scale "Field of Light," which put him on the map as an artist. Over the last 15 years he's created whimsical scenes including a blue moon, a sparkling sea of CDs, and even lollipops of light.

"It might solve a few problems in the world if we did a bit more of this," he said.

The field is about a four-hour drive from either Los Angeles or San Francisco, and the installation lights up Wednesdays through Sundays until January.