When St. Francis High School converted to using solar energy, Adan Romo was commissioned to create a work of art that commemorated the historic event. Romo was inspired by the concept of illumination -- not only the illuminative power of the sun, but the school’s mission to illuminate young minds, as well. The concept of illuminated medieval manuscripts struck Romo as a powerful metaphor for this theme.
Romo’s work, “Illuminated Garden,” is a living garden wall. The 30’ x 13’ wall is covered with more than 650 succulent plants and topped with copper panels featuring organic cut-outs that echo the natural shapes of the plants. Circular acrylic accents are inspired by planets and radiate around the metal panel. The largest, representing the sun and styled as a gothic rose window, is LED lit and tracks the movement of the sun itself. The LED lights turn on as the sun sets, illuminating the piece through the darkness of night until the sun rises the next day. An interactive digital monitor tracks the amount of solar energy being captured by the solar rooftop panels. Romo’s intent is the living garden wall would speak to the students of the importance of the environment. The artwork was unveiled in 2012.