Glass artist Dale Chihuly, known for his dramatically curvaceous sculptures, was born in Tacoma, Washington. Several attractions in the city (as well as in Seattle) are celebrating both their notable native son and other important artists this winter. If you’re planning a winter stay in Seattle or Tacoma, be sure to explore the sparkling highlights of this season’s arts calendar.
Where Chihuly’s Work Shines
One of the most striking spaces to view Dale Chihuly’s work is at the Chihuly Garden and Glass, an indoor-outdoor gallery in the shadow of the Space Needle, devoted exclusively to the artist’s vibrant glass sculptures. Among the eight galleries, the most dramatic include the room-sized Mille Fiori (“A thousand flowers”) and Ikebana and Float Boat, where rowboats filled with colorful glass balls and other fanciful forms appear to float on a mirrored sea.
Glass art fans should also visit Tacoma’s Museum of Glass in a landmark conical building that Canadian architect Arthur Erickson designed. In addition to a show of Chihuly’s small-scale early work — CAUTION! Fragile. Irish Glass: Tradition in Transition is on view until September 1 — the museum includes the fascinating theater-style Hot Shop, a space where you can watch resident glass artists craft their newest creations.
Chihuly’s Bridge of Glass, an outdoor gallery that spans the pathway between downtown Tacoma and the Museum of Glass, is another must-see for Chihuly admirers. Nearby, the small Tacoma Art Museum (which is currently in the midst of a major expansion expected to be completed in fall 2014) has a number of Chihuly works in its permanent collection.
Portraits of Star-Studded Celebs
The Experience Music Project, Seattle’s cool museum of rock ’n’ roll and popular culture, may be better known for its hands-on, music-making rooms and its wild science-fiction exhibits than as an artistic venue, but through February 16, the EMP is the last stop on the world tour of Martin Schoeller: Close Up, a star-studded celebrity portrait show. Schoeller’s larger-than-life photographs feature up-close views of actors, rock stars, politicians, and other notables, from George Clooney and Angelina Jolie to President Barack Obama and Kanye West. The EMP takes on another cultural phenomenon with its exhibition Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture, opening January 25, which features LEGO models of many world landmarks, from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Tower to Seattle’s own Space Needle.
From Haida Artwork to Spanish Sculptures
Located downtown near Pike Place Market, the modern Seattle Art Museum has mounted two worthwhile shows this season. Robert Davidson: Abstract Impulse, on view through February 16, showcases 45 paintings, sculptures and prints by the contemporary native artist, who combines traditional Haida images into boldly colorful works. On display between February 13 and May 25, Miró: The Experience of Seeing will spotlight four dozen paintings and sculptures from Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía that the Spanish artist created between 1963 and 1983.
For a different take on creative endeavors, check out the new Bezos Center for Innovation at the lakefront Museum of History & Industry. Opened this fall with funding from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie, interactive exhibits and changing displays highlight many of the inventions and companies conceived in the Pacific Northwest, from Eddie Bauer, Boeing, and UPS, to Microsoft, Starbucks and, of course, Amazon.
Four-Star Art Loving
The best place for Seattle-area art lovers to lay their heads after all of the gallery gawking may be the museum-like Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma. This deluxe 23-story property showcases several original Chihuly pieces; in fact, each guest floor is devoted to the work of a noted glass artist. This winter, Hotel Murano is offering an Artsy Fartsy getaway package, which includes accommodations in one of the 319 artistically designed rooms and a walking tour of Tacoma’s Museum Corridor (two tickets to the Museum of Glass, the Tacoma Art Museum and the nearby Washington State History Museum come with the tour).
Photo Courtesy of Chihuly Garden and Glass