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About Dale Chihuly

Over the course of his distinguished career, Dale Chihuly has emerged as one of the most prominent American artists of the last century, all the while remaining closely associated with the Pacific Northwest and, especially, Tacoma. Tacoma Art Museum has told his story as it unfolded since the late 1960s.

Tacoma has been a critical source of inspiration, support, and development for Chihuly. He fondly remembers a stained glass window above the front door of his first childhood home, finding beach glass on the shores of Puget Sound, and the city’s brilliant neon signs that once illuminated downtown. Other important childhood memories include his collection of colorful marbles and finding glass fishing floats on Pacific Ocean beaches during family vacations.

Chihuly began his relationship with Tacoma Art Museum in 1968 in an exhibition featuring works by artists associated with Seattle’s Attica Gallery. This was Chihuly’s first museum exhibition. A few years later in 1971, the museum included a blown-glass and argon installation titled All the Way Out of East Cupcake, a collaboration with James Carpenter, in the 1st National Invitational Hand Blown Glass Exhibition.  Since then, the museum and the artist have presented numerous exhibitions together: Dale Chihuly: Glass Blowing in 1981, Dale Chihuly: Works on Paper in 1991, Dale Chihuly: Mille Fiori in 2003, and to celebrate the museum’s 75th anniversary Dale Chihuly’s Northwest in 2011.

Other major projects in Tacoma include the installation 100,000 Pounds of Ice and Neon at the Tacoma Dome in 1993, Chihuly at Union Station in 1994, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass in 2002, and a special installation at the W. W. Seymor Botanical Conservatory in Wright Park to commemorate the conservatory’s centennial in 2008. Chihuly has also been a featured artist at the Museum of Glass on many occasions.