AUSTIN (KXAN) — For two weekends this spring, the Zilker Botanical Garden will transform into an immersive, neon art exhibit for visitors to explore.

Designed by Sharon Keshishian and the Ion Art team, The Surreal Garden is a “botanical-themed neon surrealism” art display that will include interactive sculptures visitors can engage with, along with food, craft cocktails, live music and dancing.

The Surreal Garden will open to the public with a VIP event Thursday evening. General admission for the exhibit runs Friday and Saturday this week, with a final weekend on display April 28-30.

This is the first Surreal series Ion Art has put on since the start of the pandemic and its first time collaborating with the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy, Keshishian said. She added she’s excited to help put a spotlight on both the beauty of neon art and the botanical garden — a place she dubbed the “jewel” of downtown.

“We have high hopes to help the garden and support arts,” she said. “We feel like this is the perfect partnership — I mean, it support arts in Austin, and it’s supporting this little jewel of a garden that’s here in downtown Austin that so many people don’t know about right now.”

A portion of proceeds raised will go go the ZBGC. The nonprofit launched in 2015 and works in tandem with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to support the botanical garden’s existence and upkeep in the city.

Funding from this event will go toward the garden’s operations and revenue for future events and programming, said Monica Sivilli, public relations coordinator for ZBGC.

Pre-sale tickets begin at $40, while tickets bought at the door cost $50 with fees.

Local food and drink trailers on site will include Crepe Crazy, Downtown Burgers, Garbo’s Lobster, Maudie’s Tex-Mex, TacoMan 512, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, Zucchini Kill Bakery and Black Sheep Lodge. Live entertainment during the two-weekend event features music from DJs Byrne Rock and Manny Mo, along with Mixer Rogers.

Austin-based Ion Art launched in 1986, founded by Sharon and her husband, Greg, as a neon art shop. The Keshishians specialize in glass and metalwork, creating and selling artwork, metal signage, architectural décor and lighting design.

Sharon said her hope is visitors will see the beauty of neon art as a timeless creative form — one whose uses extend beyond just illuminating bars, restaurants and other entertainment spaces.

“Everyone can have a piece of neon,” she said. “And we hope it makes everyone happy, and it puts a little smile on your face …. especially nowadays, we need that in the world.”