Tacoma’s glass art tour

Dale Chihuly is a world-renowned glass artist from Tacoma, you can’t miss his art. ?

Dale Chihuly, the man who has never met a color he doesn’t like. His glass art is celebrated and admired around the world. Here, in his hometown, Chihuly has made Tacoma itself a museum for his beautiful work.  

Chihuly loves working with glass because of the way light can pass through and play off the form. In Union Station the Monarch Window is filled with golden Seafoam glass art that casts a brilliant orange glow across the old station floor. The Chinook Red Chandelier in the Snoqualmie Library on campus uses 900 individual glass pieces in different shades of red intended to light up and shine like a beacon.  

Chihuly has always been inspired by nature and the natural elements. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest left a lasting influence on how he viewed his art, becoming obsessed with organic shapes and innovating the process of using human breath to manipulate molten glass.  

The glass bridge by Pacific Avenue is a perfect landmark for Tacoma. Glass is a very fragile material, easily broken or damaged. Giant blue crystal monoliths stand on the bridge against the dark Tacoma night.  

I was living in the dorms during the pandemic despite all my roommates deciding to pack up and head home. My brother was spending a lot of time with me at the dorms, likely to get away from our parents. Practically every day that spring we would walk across the glass bridge to play Pokémon Go along Foss Waterway. As the world was crumbling around us, tulips began to bloom and sun beams through painted glass would make the most beautiful rainbows.  

A car accident in the 70s launched a piece of glass through Dale Chihuly’s eye. Blind in one eye, wearing a now iconic eyepatch, Chihuly was forced to rely on the other glass blowing artist in his studio to continue creating his art. This change forced Chihuly to think differently about how his pieces were constructed and assembled leading to larger projects thanks to his increased scope in a director role.   

What was once a devastating and lifechanging event has led to the proliferation and innovative growth of a visionary artist. No matter how many times I drive through Tacoma I’ll never get tired of seeing those crystal towers. I am proud of our glass artist, as beautiful as Chihuly art is all around the world, you can’t beat that colorful shimmering glass at home.  

Glass Chandelier in the Snoqualmie Building. Photo by Cameron Berrens.

Featured image caption: Glass Bridge. Photo by Cameron Berrens.