Open Now: A Forest for the Trees

Immersive art show from Glenn Kaino, The Atlantic, and Superblue creates a hidden forest in downtown Los Angeles.

Installation Photo, A Forest for the Trees
A Forest for the Trees (Photo by Aaron Mendez)

A forest grows in downtown Los Angeles. Opening today with a limited run through summer 2022, A Forest for the Trees is an immersive art show created and directed by visionary artist Glenn Kaino, together with The Atlantic and Superblue, that is designed to inspire audiences to reimagine their relationship with the natural world.

A Forest for the Trees is open to all ages, and tickets are on sale now. Press should inquire about opportunities to tour the show. Installation photographs and show notes are also now available upon request. The show is joined by a culinary experience from celebrated local chef Minh Phan of porridge + puffs and PHENAKITE, and a shop conceived and curated in collaboration with ThunderVoice Eagle’s Thunder Voice Hat Co., whose work explores conditions of memory and the sacred, carrying on the lineage of sustainable, hand-crafted Native fashion through unique collaborations between Native cultures.

A Forest for the Trees is unlike anything that has come before it, taking visitors on a journey through a surreal forest of magic, music, and wonder—with animatronic performing trees, captivating illusions of fire that visitors can control with their hands, and multi-sensory storytelling, all hidden within a 28,000-square-foot space in downtown Los Angeles. The experience is steeped in histories inspired by the people closest to the forests and nearby neighborhoods: from an immersive interactive fire illusion referencing the controlled burns that are central to Native forest stewardship, to the symbolic resurrection of an iconic 144-year-old tree.

A Forest for the Trees is created and directed by internationally renowned, Los Angeles–based artist Glenn Kaino, working alongside Grammy-winning producer/musician David Sitek as part of the duo’s new band project, HIGH SEAS. The show is inspired by The Atlantic’s editorial series “Who Owns America’s Wilderness?,” which launched in 2021 with the cover story “Return the National Parks to the Tribes” written by David Treuer and edited by Ross Andersen, and by The Atlantic’s 165 years of writing by some of the most influential voices on America’s natural spaces. That tradition began with the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a co-founder of the magazine, and continued through the end of the 19th century, when John Muir made his case for the national parks in The Atlantic.

Over the past year, Kaino has been working alongside an interdisciplinary collective of artists, musicians, tribal leaders, and environmentalists to bring A Forest for the Trees to life. Kaino and his team also draw from more than a decade of deep research into the field of magic, including the production of the hit off-broadway show and film In & Of Itself. Vance Garrett (Sleep No More, Museum of Ice Cream) serves as executive producer, bringing his deep background in immersive theater to the show, which is organized in collaboration with Superblue’s senior curator Kathleen Forde.

“I have worked my entire career to build the tools and relationships that have allowed me to embark upon a project of this unprecedented scale and ambition, both conceptually and formally,” Kaino said. “Intergenerational problems of this magnitude require new thinking and new models about how we bring together traditional ecological knowledge and advanced technology. It is my hope that this show can provide inspiration into how to connect and contribute to some of the most pressing issues of our time, in a dynamic and exciting way that our audience can take home with them.”

The presenting sponsor is Mastercard, whose cardholders also receive exclusive benefits, including 10% off tickets and a one-month digital trial subscription to The Atlantic. Additionally, in support of Mastercard’s commitment to restore 100 million trees by 2025 through the Priceless Planet Coalition, Conservation International will plant a tree for every ticket sold to the show.

Among the collaborators and creators involved with A Forest for the Trees:

  • Original music throughout the project is produced by Grammy Award–winning producer and musician David Sitek.

  • The show is narrated by actor Jesse Williams.

  • The singer-songwriters Priscilla Ahn, Kittie Harloe, and Alice Smith perform original songs by HIGH SEAS created for the show.

  • Laundi Keepseagle, a Lakota creative producer and community architect from the Standing Rock reservation, has been a key collaborator.

  • Bill Tripp, Director of the Department of Natural Resources, from the Karuk Tribe, important stewards of the California forests and the inspiration for many of the artworks, has been the primary consultant for the project.

  • Ukrainian art director Kirill Yeretsky created illustrations that help bring the stories to life.

  • Dakota and Lakota teacher and community organizer Breanne Luger is contributing writing and performances.

The project is developed and executive produced by Atlantic Ventures, a business development group at The Atlantic that creates large-scale initiatives grounded in The Atlantic’s most consequential journalism.

A Forest for the Trees
Website: AForestLA.com
Location: Ace Mission Studios at 516 South Mission Road, Los Angeles
Tickets: $10–$50 (children and adults, peak and non-peak)
Dates: Opening Friday, May 13, for a limited run through summer 2022
General Hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 12–6pm (check for daily hours)
Social Media Handles: @aforestLA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok
Press Contacts: Paul Jackson and Anna Bross, The Atlantic, press@theatlantic.com