Campus News

Students focus their ‘Lumagination’ at Botanical Gardens event

CAIRNS, designed by Lynne Koscielniak, professor of scenography, and BFA theatre design and technology major Hannah S. Wolland, can be found near the Asian Rainforest.


Published January 28, 2020

“By literally working outside the box on Lumagination, students not only gain a deeper understanding of service, they learn how to ask the right questions when working in a new space. ”
Lynne Koscielniak, professor of theatre and scenography
Department of Theatre and Dance

UB students have spent countless hours helping to transform an 1898 tri-domed glass and steel structure into a work of art with light, sound and movement.

As they have the past three years, students from the Department of Theatre and Dance, College of Arts and Sciences, are helping to bring the annual “Lumagination” light and sound show to life in the Buffalo Botanical Gardens.

“Mysterious Minerals” is the theme of this year’s Lumagination. Attendees will experience a unique, self-guided journey through the botanical gardens while exploring extraordinary earthly facets.

Visitors will view colorful ”Rainbow Cavern Crystals” designed by UB senior Steven Zehler; a 12-foot-tall “Geode” sculpture designed by junior Nicholas Taboni; fiber optic displays exploring the abstract nature of the crystal with “Crystal Rods,” designed by sophomore Timothy “TJ” Wildow; an organic, jagged exploration of the dark side of the crystal designed by senior Jake Nowak; and “Cairns,” the delicate balance of minerals and water alongside the garden’s koi ponds designed by Lynne Koscielniak, professor of theatre and scenography, and senior Hannah S. Wolland.

“Crystal Rods,” designed by Timothy “TJ” Wildow, a sophomore in the BFA theatre design and technology program, can be found in the Main Dome.

Lumagination opened Jan 24 and will be on display through Feb. 29. UB exhibits are located in houses three, four, five and the main dome.

The College of Arts and Science’s Alumni Night will take place on Feb. 13. The immersive event will include a choreographed piece by dance MFA student Kate Mackey featuring members of the Zodiaque Dance Company, as well as a selection of work by musical theatre students led by faculty members Nathan R. Matthews and Allison D’Amato. Alumni can register to attend the event online.

“These students are proud to contribute their theatrical sensibilities to this gem of a community event, and I am thrilled that they have an opportunity to apply their knowledge to a site-specific project,” says Koscielniak, faculty research coordinator for the UB Lumagination team. “The gardens present a very unusual set of circumstances, including moisture and varying temperature, and necessitate a way of working that pays respect to the precious flora that is being housed.

“Rainbow Cavern Crystals,” designed by Steven Zehler, a senior BA theatre student, can be found at the entrance of House 4.

“By literally working outside the box on Lumagination, students not only gain a deeper understanding of service, they learn how to ask the right questions when working in a new space.” 

Design and technology students, in conjunction with the UB student chapter of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, honed their creativity and theatre skills to create design exhibits throughout the gardens. They include emerging set and lighting designers, stage technicians and technical directors who are trained in developing artistic concepts, research methods, drafting, drawing, model building, structural engineering, budgeting, painting, fabrication, collaboration and project management. 

The UB student design and fabrication team includes research assistants Hannah S. Wolland and Nick Taboni, technical support assistant Luke Tarnow-Bulatowicz, build and graphic design coordinator Steven Zehler, load-in project manager Timothy “TJ” Wildow and scenic artist Francisca Losada Hernandez.

Additional build and fabrication team members include Sam Dell’Acqua, Andrew Fish, Katie Johnson, Hannah Mackey, Alex Sansolo, Becca Stock and Tim Swenson.

The students are mentored by Koscielniak and also supported by scene shop manager Rick Haug and assistant costume shop manager Cindy Darling.

Lumagination is produced by Luminated Landscapes of East Aurora.