The Color Inside, a Skyspace by artist James Turrell, is among Landmarks’ most loved works of public art. It has become an international arts destination used by faculty and students from all corners of campus, and the setting for Landmarks’ most popular public programs. With more than half a million visitors since opening in 2013, the Skyspace is available to everyone free of charge.
"My desire is to set up a situation in which I take you and let you see." – James Turrell
The Skyspace is a naked-eye observatory where visitors see natural light during the day and brilliant washes of color each sunrise and sunset. Turrell’s manipulations of light cause the sky to appear in unimaginable hues, which heightens our perceptions and encourages reflection. Rooted in the traditions of the artist’s Quaker upbringing, Turrell invites visitors to “go inside and greet the light.”
Support Learning and Growth
The Skyspace is an essential part of the Longhorn experience. Faculty regularly incorporate visits into curricula for students in the humanities, fine arts, and other disciplines. Dell Medical School uses the Skyspace to engage students in slow looking exercises that foster observation skills, empathy, and self-care. Beyond the classroom, it offers students a contemplative space to reflect, and is often cited as their favorite place on campus to recharge.
Programs in the Skyspace offer unique ways to serve diverse audiences and provide entry points for underrepresented students and communities. Most popular is Songs in the Skyspace, a performance series that features a broad lineup of musicians—from South Asian a capella groups to Tejano singers and string quartets. The Color Inside also inspires an array of musicians to create original compositions that have debuted in the Skyspace.
Hum A Cappella performing in the Skyspace as part of Songs in the Skyspace, 2019.
Understand the Effort
More than 75,000 people visit the Skyspace each year to experience Turrell’s visionary integration of space and light. Although Landmarks provides access free of charge, maintaining the Skyspace requires a significant investment. A dedicated team provides care to ensure the work is functioning properly and that visitors feel welcomed.
Landmarks manages The Color Inside website, which offers a free reservation system. A team of student attendants—recruited each semester to staff the Skyspace—greet visitors, answer questions, protect the Skyspace from damage, and ensure that guests have meaningful experiences.
"My favorite experience from working here is seeing people’s eye light up as they see the Skyspace during a light sequence for the first time. It’s fascinating because I can see the wonder in their eyes as they witness the art." – Skyteam member Thanh L.
Preserve a Legacy
For many, the Skyspace represents the first opportunity to engage with contemporary art and offers a threshold to a lifetime of curiosity about arts and culture. More than a point of pride for the university, The Color Inside shapes our perspectives and offers new ways of seeing and understanding.
Routine conservation and maintenance tasks include:
- Repainting the seat backs
- Patching and painting cracks around the oculus edge
- Resealing the basalt floor
- Daily custodial visits to remove refuse, vacuum floor, and dust seating
- Power washing the exterior
- Removing debris from Skyspace roof
- Pest extermination services
- Maintaining software that runs the light sequence
- Hosting and updating the online reservation system
- Recruiting, training, and managing student Skyspace attendants
- Coordinating condition reports from Preservation Guild volunteers
- Periodic conservator assessments
- Collecting and analyzing visitor usage and feedback
Less frequent treatments that ensure the longevity of the Skyspace include:
- Replacing the computer system that runs the light sequences
- Removing & replacing malfunctioning Skyspace lights
- Replastering and painting exterior walls and roof
Caring for the work requires an ongoing investment of time and resources. Support relies on the generosity of individual donors and visitors. Your gift enables countless people to find inspiration from The Color Inside while safeguarding this campus treasure for generations to come. Please donate today.