by Nancy Bestor
I must admit, I have mixed feelings about museums. I always have really good intentions. I tell myself I want to see all the best paintings/sculptures/exhibits on offer and I am excited to do so. But my enthusiasm often peters out before I make it to the third or fourth (or second) gallery. I’m here to tell you though that Chihuly Garden and Glass is, from start to finish, fantastic. Every single exhibit is stunning, and if I lived in Seattle I might just buy a season pass.
Located in the shadow of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass houses a wonderful collection of the sublime glass-blown art of Dale Chihuly. Eight galleries, an outdoor garden with glass works scattered throughout beautiful matching flowers, trees and shrubs, and the centerpiece of the museum, the 40 foot tall Glasshouse, gave me a new and enthusiastic appreciation for this art form. From the suspended sculptures to the vase-like pieces, each is extraordinary. Even the videos detailing Chihuly’s process and his international shows in such far-flung locales as Venice and Jerusalem were fascinating. Admission is $29. That sounds a bit steep, but I promise you, it is $29 very well spent.
Bob, Emily and I wondered many things as we toured Chihuly Garden and Glass. How often and how easily are the glass sculptures cleaned? The outdoor pieces must get pooped on by birds every now and then right? They were in perfectly pristine shape when we visited, so someone is taking good care of them. I would be too nervous for that job, let me tell you. None of the sculptures are behind glass (get it?). But all kidding aside, anyone can touch these pieces. Has one ever been broken? And what sort of home is grand enough to house a large Chihuly sculpture? I’d pay money to see that too.
It’s hard to do this museum justice in words, and perhaps even harder in photographs. But here are a few of my favorite pieces, from an amateur photographer’s perspective.