Museum of Glass celebrates 50 years of Dale Chihuly

Oct. 14, the Museum of Glass opened its exhibit “Spotlight on Dale Chihuly: Works from the Museum of Glass Permanent Collection.” The showcase celebrates the Tacoma-born UW graduate’s artistic works over the past 50 years.

Chihuly is a well-known glassblowing artist of the Pacific Northwest who has art in galleries all over the world, including here at UW Tacoma.

He gifted UWT his Chinook Red Chandelier in 1999 to congratulate the campus’ assured longevity. The chandelier is made up of 9,000 plus pieces that were assembled on-site in the Snoqualmie Library.

The impact the artist has made on UWT and the city of Tacoma is imminent in his feeling towards his work and connection to the area. Mayor of Tacoma Marilyn Strickland seems to agree.

“Dale Chihuly has really helped make Tacoma a center for the arts,” she said. “We’re proud to say Dale Chihuly is a citizen of Tacoma.”

His dedication to Tacoma has been continually proven throughout recent years. In January 2017, Chihuly donated five of his largest artworks to Union Station. Their stay in Tacoma will be officially permanent once the Federal Government formally buys the building in 2022.

Chihuly’s wife, Leslie Jackson Chihuly, knows firsthand how much the people of Tacoma appreciate her husband’s world renowned art. She explains that before these pieces’ official donation to Union Station, they had been thinking of an original Chihuly piece to gift in commemoration.

“It [finally] seemed like the right time to make the gift,” Jackson Chihuly said. “People love the work so much.”

With the “Spotlight on Dale Chihuly: Works from the Museum of Glass Permanent Collection,” the Museum of Glass will be specifically showcasing one of his most prominent works: the Gibson Chandelier.

According to Museum of Glass curator, Kate Buckingham, Chihuly’s work is an important staple of the museum.

“His work is an important (and oftenrequested) highlight for visitors to Museum of Glass,” Buckingham said. “Chihuly’s prominence in the Studio Glass movement, and his importance to our region, gives us the opportunity to celebrate the attitude of exploration and teamwork which makes Chihuly’s legacy so important to the Pacific Northwest.


Kelsie Abram

Kelsie is a senior at UWT and is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Tacoma Ledger. She is double majoring in creative writing and film studies, and has fiction published in the Tahoma West literary arts journal. In her spare time, she enjoys stage managing local Tacoma theater productions and working as a barista at Volcano Coffee in Puyallup.