Chihuly Garden and Glass

Opening on 21 May 2012 at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass is a unique Seattle landmark that cannot be compared to anything else in the country or indeed the world. Built for the purpose of showcasing the massive glass sculptures of Washington State native Dale Chihuly, this impressive 1.5 acre site includes some of the most prolific pieces from this renowned artist’s career and presents them in a thoroughly modern, sustainable way.

Money Saving Tip! Chihuly Garden and Glass is included on the Seattle CityPASS. If you are sightseeing in Seattle, then you can save a lot of money with a pass.

About Dale Chihuly

The entire operation of Chihuly Garden and Glass is focused on the career and talents of artist Dale Chihuly. Born in Tacoma, WA in 1941, this son of the Pacific Northwest was a pioneer in brining what is known as group glass blowing into the realm of fine arts. Over the years, his work has been featured at more than 200 museums and other locations throughout the world including such notable sites as Rockefeller Center in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Chihuly was first introduced to glass blowing while at school at the University of Washington, Seattle studying interior design in the 1960s. He then went on to study glass art at the University of Wisconsin, the first institution to offer glass blowing in its curriculum, followed by the Rhode Island School of Design, from which he earned an MFA. After graduating from RISD 1968, thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship, he travelled to the Venini Glass Factory in Venice, Italy. This is where the practice of glass blowing really became art for Chihuly.

Upon his completion of his tenure in Venice, Chihuly returned to the Pacific Northwest where he cofounded the Pilchuck Glass School, located in Stanwood, WA, just north of Seattle. While there, he continued to hone his own craft until a body surfing accident in 1979 dislocated his shoulder and left Chihuly unable to properly hold his glass pipe leaving him no longer capable of individual blowing.

Stepping back from the role as glass blower proved to be a fortunate accident for Chihuly’s career. As he later stated, “Once I stepped back, I liked the view.” Seeing glass art from a new perspective, literally, allowed Chihuly to begin the process that would define the rest of his life and reshape the interpretation of this art throughout the world. Today, Chihuly works more as a “choreographer” in the creation and installation of his fantastic artistic creations. He works using teams of several glass blowers in the collective creation of life size works that it would be impossible to make otherwise.

Chihuly Garden and Glass: The Main Attraction

The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum sits at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle Center. It is a 45,000 square foot building which, though originally received skeptically, gained instant acclaim from tourists, top critics, and Seattle natives alike. Presenting eight separate galleries along with an outdoor garden and massive glass house, the Chihuly center offers both day and night experiences, each of which highlight different facets of Chihuly’s works. Next door is the Pacific Science Center and MoPOP.

Chihuly Garden and Glass is open seven days a week until either 10 or 11 o’clock at night. This matches nicely with the Space Needle’s midnight closing time and allows guests ample opportunity to view Chihuly’s sculptures under the different lighting options of the evening sky and nearby artificial lights.

Admission tickets allow guests access to the exhibition hall, garden, and glass house. Again like the Space Needle, visitors can choose to go to Chihuly once (general admission) or twice within 24 hours (day/night admission) in an effort to get the full effect of the attraction. Tickets are for Adults (13-64), Seniors (65+), Youth (4-12), and Children (3 and under). A special discount is offered to residents of King’s County. Group packages are available for parties of 15 or more and combination tickets that also allow access to the nearby Space Needle can also be purchased.

Why Chihuly Garden and Glass is a Must-See

Aside from its close proximity to the must-see attractions in Seattle Center, particularly the Space Needle, the allure of Chihuly Garden and Glass on its own is enough to entice visitors to check the place out. Dedicated to one man who has had significant impact on the art of glass blowing as well as the talent to create or otherwise orchestrate hundreds of stunning pieces of art, the impressions given and the work seen at Chihuly Garden and Glass will not disappoint.