Dale Chihuly is one of the world's preeminent glass artists based right here, so it was exciting to find out that the Seattle Center had approved the building the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. As a native Pacific North-westerner and world-renown glass artist, he deserved to have a permanent exhibit in his home state. What is wonderful about Chihuly's artwork is that it's so accessible to the masses, both the young and old, art novices and art collectors. In a recent visit to the exhibit, we enjoyed learning about Dale Chihuly and his work by decade and seeing all the colorful artwork on display.
The recently opened Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit takes up 45,000 square-feet space in the Seattle Center, at the base of Seattle’s iconic, Space Needle. This comprehensive collection of Chihuly’s work is the perfect addition to the “maturing” Seattle Center. The exhibit contains an Exhibition Hall that spreads across eight distinctively-themed exhibit galleries and three Drawing Walls, a lecture hall, an elaborate Garden, a dazzling Glasshouse (overlooking the Space Needle), a theater, Collections Café, and The Book store. Each installation was laid out impressively, and it is obvious that he draws a lot of inspiration from nature.
A tour through the Hall starts with the Glass Forest; then leads you into the Northwest Room, Sealife Room, Persian Ceiling, Mille Fiori, Ikebana & Float Boat, Chandeliers, and lastly Macchia Forest. In between the exhibit galleries, you will encounter the Drawing Walls which showcases Dale’s drawings of his visions and designs of art that he communicate to his team. Chihuly is no longer able to blow glasses himself because of eye sight lost on his left eye and severely dislocated shoulder.
After the Exhibition Hall, there are three different entrances that lead to the Garden, Glasshouse, and the Collection Café. The Garden was delightful! It is an amazing array of colors and variety of glass work that is truly a must see. Not only the displays of glasswork were amazing, the meticulously-maintained outdoor green space was impressive. The Glasshouse is a brilliant glass building with floral glass pieces all along the ceiling; words can’t simply describe this magnificent work. Not to mention the view of the Space Needle as the perfect backdrop. And the Collection Café, which is open for lunch and dinner, features local fresh fare. Actually, the café is, in itself a kind of museum on its own because it houses 28 of the artist’s own collections. The Bookstore sold perfectly – chosen items, and I left with few items myself, mostly postcards!
Although apprehensive about having permanent exhibition dedicated to one artist, we left delightfully surprised with how the exhibit turned out. It was also gratifying that they allowed visitors to take pictures. We can’t wait for the extensive community programs beginning this fall,designed public and maybe even spawn glass artists of the future.