Fantastic Friday

Blue Chairs on Couse Porch - B

A century-old world of creativity and inspiration opened as we stepped into the domain of famed Taos artist E.I. Couse (1866-1936). By pre-arrangement, we met Couse’s granddaughter Virginia in the garden of his home and studio. For nearly two hours we were captivateCouse Palette - Bd by the stories she shared of her grandfather, one of the founding members of the Taos Art Society as we walked through rooms filled with family furnishings, collections, sketches, prints and original paintings. We left inspired not only by Couse’s art but the family’s commitment to preserve his legacy through The Couse Foundation.

Tours must be arranged in advanced. No fee is charged but donations to the foundation are gratefully accepted. When you go be generous for this is worthy of support.

Bavarian Exterior - BFor the afternoon we headed to the Taos Ski Valley and lunch at the Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant. The 19-mile drive from Taos ascends through the Carson National Forest into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The restaurant sits at over 10,000” altitude, transporting guests to an alp-like ambiance. After a filling German lunch we stroll the Village of Taos Ski Valley, considerably quieter than a wintertime visit.

Returning to Taos we stop in the quirky village of Arroyo Seco. It’s impossible for me to pass through Seco twice without a stop at Taos Cow Bob with Ice Cream - BIce Cream. I consider the day a total success when one of today’s choices is Pinion Caramel, my absolute favorite. Across the street we “need” to do some jewelry shopping at Claire Works. Bob is now supplied with gifts for my birthday and Christmas.

In light of spaetzle and ice cream we make a workout visit to the Taos Spa. The facility accommodates regional visitors with reasonable priced day passes or multi-visit punch cards.

We peacefully conclude the day back at the casita with music, wine and books – a fantastic Friday.

 

Stories from Big Boots

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Eight-foot-tall cowboy boots dot the Cheyenne landscape. Created as a fundraiser for the Cheyenne Depot Museum Foundation in 2004, 19 boots were painted and decorated by local artists. Sponsorships and auction made nearly $100,000 for the museum. The boots are displayed throughout the community – parks, businesses, and public spaces to the local community college.Boot - Depot_thumb[12]

The project’s theme was “If this book could talk, what story would it tell?” Governors of Wyoming and Where the Deer and the Antelope Play appear fairly obvious. A free audio tour relates the story of each book in the artists’ own words. Simple to use, the tour is accessed by calling 307-316-0067 followed by an assigned boot number and the pound key. While the tour is free individual cell plan charges may apply.

Of the boots we visited my favorite was Licensed to Boot installed outside of the Wyoming State Museum. The top part of the boot is painted with scenes from past Wyoming state license plates. The toe of the boot is cover with a mosaic of pieces cut from actual license plates donated to the project. Upon investigation I discovered Licensed to Boot was an after school project of the Carey Junior High Art Club. A shout out to the students for their creative and accomplished Big Boot!

A free “These Boots are made for Talking!” brochure is available at the Cheyenne Visitor Information Center in the Depot.

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10th Annual Quick Draw and Art Auction

Taos Center for the Arts – September 25, 2010

Quick Draw Today - B 

Paint Brushes - B Couldn’t pick just one from the dozens of Taos artists taking part in the 10th Annual Quick Draw and Art Auction so we salute all the participants and their creativity. Paint brushes, tubes of paint and  sculpting tools stand at the ready as the noon hour approaches. Local artists in a wide range of media begin work on creations that must be finished on site by 3pm. Patrons and browsers wander among the easels and work tables chatting, asking questions or just standing back to watch the process as each work takes shape.

Leigh Gusterson Cropped - BAt 2:50pm we hear the announcer, “Artists, you have ten minutes to finish your work.” As each piece is completed, signed, and framed they are taken to the finish line. The public can view, appraise and sign up for a bidding paddle. The auction starts at 4pm, action lively and sometimes quite competitive. Proceeds benefit the Taos Center for the Arts which provides facilities, programming and education in the visual, performing and media arts.

In the morning we viewed the shows comprising the Taos Fall Arts Festival. Quick Draw offered an opportunity to see many of Doug Scott - Bthe artists in action whose works we’d admired in the shows.. An ever changing gathering watches as horses charge across Doug Scott’s canvas. Ed Sandoval’s personality and painting quickly draws a bevy of art enthusiasts as he captures a Northern New Mexico fall scene. Pat Woodall intensely adds vibrant colors to his Ranchos church. We stop to watch Leigh Gusterson whose art we frequently admire.

In addition to painters, sculptors, potters and jewelry makers work in stone, glass, wood and silver. Live music and an appreciative audience add to the festive Pat Woodall - Batmosphere on a perfect autumn afternoon in Taos.

Ed Sandoval 2 - B

 

Angie Coleman

Woodblock Prints, Oils, Pastels

 

Angie Coleman Studio - B

Taos artist Angie Coleman is well known for her woodblock prints. The image of each relief print is produced from the raised surface of a woodblock. As each color is printed more of the background is carved away. One block is used for each limited edition.

The process intrigues me, I can’t imagine the vision and planning required for each new creation. As each layer is chipped away there is no going back; one slip of the chisel and the result is changed. The process produces subtle variations with each print.

Coleman graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts and has been included in many national juried shows. Her work received the best of printmaking award at the “2007 Taos Invites Taos Show” and the Harwood Museum purchase award in the “Originals New Mexico Show” in 2007. In addition to woodblock prints she also works in oil and pastels.

Angie Coleman's - Winter Scenes - B Many of Coleman’s subjects reflect her years of living in Taos, New Mexico and her love of hiking and camping in the mountains ofColorado and New Mexico. We’ve collected a number of her works over the last ten years. Each day we enjoy Coleman’s images of chamisa, golden aspen, antique truck and rustic adobes in our home. Add to that today’s purchases of two winter scene miniatures and her last available print of Apples and Adobes.

When in Taos visit Angie Coleman in her working studio/gallery at 207 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, two blocks south of Taos Plaza and immediately north of McDonald’s. The studio is generally open Monday thru Saturday, call 575-779-4658 to confirm hours. Visit her website for more details on the woodblock process and the “Gallery” pages to see the range of her work.

Apples and Adobes - B

 4th Annual Arts Festival

Greenwood Village, Colorado – Sept. 10-12, 2010

Art Tents - for Blog

Paintings, photography and pottery, bird houses to woodcarvings the 4th Annual Greenwood Village Arts Festival showcases the creations of local artists. Cherry Hills Marketplace, 5910 S. University Blvd., hosts the event sponsored by the Curtis Arts and Humanities Center. The festival runs Friday, Sept. 10 noon – 6pm, Saturday the 11th 10am-6pm, Sunday the 12th 10am-4pm.

We were especially impressed by the work of three of the artists when we visited the festival Friday afternoon. Watercolors by Bruce White (http://brucewhiteartist.com) capture colorful landscapes. A street scene of Telluride, Colorado was a personal favorite. In addition to dozens of original paintings White sells reasonably priced glyce prints.

The woodcarvings of Lee Thormahelm caught Bob’s eye and interest. Not only are Thormahelm’s carvings detailed and well executed but he completes each piece with excellent painting, finishes and presentation. Several works featuring trout and one of a hummingbird and Colorado blue columbine were particularly noteworthy.

Yelena Sidorova - B

We immediately recognized the unique work of Yelena Sidorova (http://www.sidorovart.com). Bob took a workshop taught by Yelena a few years ago. Classically trained in Russia she uses silk as her canvas. The resulting creations are rich in color and texture. Subject matter ranges from art deco to cityscapes, flowers to figurative. Bob previously purchased two Prague street scenes and will return to the festival tomorrow for a third.

Exploring Connecticut’s Farmington Valley

With friends flying to Hartford, Connecticut I can’t resist the urge to recommend a number of attractions, activities and historic sites we’ve experienced and enjoyed in the nearby Farmington Valley.

 Hill-Stead Exterior

  • Hill-Stead Museum – history, art and gardens. The home of the Alfred Pope family during the first half of the 20th century is a National Historic Landmark complete with the family’s furnishings, sculpture, photographs, ceramics and art.  I Hill-Stead Interior loved seeing the extensive  French Impressionist collection –Monet, Degas, Cassatt – hanging in a home environment instead of a sterile gallery. The Sunken Garden blooms from mid-April into October with flowers and plants historically based on the original garden plan. Guided tours of the house give insight into the Pope family, art, collectables and architectural details.  A Poetry & Music Festival highlights five Wednesday evenings during the summer.

 

Christ Church

  • The town of Farmington has a fascinating history from early Colonial settlement dating to 1640, the Revolutionary War, Underground Railroad and the Amistad. Learn about many of the interesting citizens of the past during a historic walk through the Riverside Cemetery. The hospitality of local inns and restaurants make Farmington an ideal hub for a visit to the region.

 

  • House Guards The 1st Company Governor’s Horse Guard, in Avon, is the oldest continuously mounted Calvary unit in the US. The public is welcome to watch them drill on Thursday evenings at 7pm.

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  •  Phelps Tavern Museum in Simsbury provides a look into the home of Capt. Elisha Phelps where three generations of innkeepers (1786 – 1849) welcomed travelers arriving by stage, canal boat or horseback to the tavern and inn. One can imagine historical figures from America’s early years seeking respite from their journey between Boston and Philadelphia.

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  • Stanley-Whitman House Built circa 1720 the Colonial home relates aspects of everyday life during that period in Connecticut. The living history center and museum encourages an interactive experience for visitors.

  • Canton Historic District Canton Historical Museum This place is chuck full of  "stuff" and every item has a story that one of the volunteers is eager to share. Collinsville was just what I expected from a New England village. The nearby LaSalle Market makes a good sandwich and salad for lunch.

 

  • Pettibone TavernAbigails Grille and Wine Bar,  – because of the building’s history. It was built in 1780 as a stage stop between Hartford and Boston. Abigail is the guest who won’t go away – tales of Abigail give lots of haunting history. This was known as Pettibone Tavern when we were there and has since experienced a fire, come under new management and been renamed so I don’t know about the food, service, etc. today. I loved the building, haunted tales and sense of stepping back in time to walk in the footsteps of earlier guests such as John Adams.

 Auction Barn Sign

  • A real piece of New England is the Canton Auction Barn. When one goes the first thing you want to do is reserve a piece of pie from the night’s selections. They’re homemade, very good and sell out. I’m not really an auction aficionado and didn’t buy a thing (my house is already filled to the brim) but this was still a fun experience. Housed in a circa 1820 barn the Saturday night weekly auction attracts Canton Barn Auctionserious collectors and casual observers. No reserves or buyer’s premiums; all items are owned outright by the Richard Wacht and Susan Wacht. Doors open at 5pm for inspection of items up for sale that evening – the Wachts encourage questions before the auction begins at 7:30. Reserve a seat by placing a cushion on a chair. Don’t forget to indulge in a slice of pie. 

  • Salmon Brook Salmon Brook Historic Society – Buildings include the Abijah Rowe House (circa 1732), Weed Enders House (circa 1790), Cooley School (circa 1870), and the Colton/Hayes Tobacco Barn (circa 19114). Located in Granby, the National Register of Historic Places site  is open Sunday afternoons from June through September.

 

Avon Old Farms

 

  • Old Avon Farms School – The buildings and grounds of this private boy’s boarding school makes one think they will meet Harry just around the next corner.

 

  • Flaming Lamb Flamig Farm – Young and old learn about farm life at Flamig Farm. Who can resist the Farm Animal Zoo populated with bunnies, piglets. llamas, peacocks, emus, ducks, draft horses and sheep? Plus, happy egg laying chickens. Open April through November, pony rides on weekends, old fashioned hay rides by reservation. Fresh eggs for sale in the store.

  • Kayaking Kayak the Farmington River with a guide from Collinsville Canoe & Kayak. See the Farmington Valley from a new perspective – meadows, farmland and Hublein Tower atop Avon Mountain during a gentle 8.5-mile flat water paddle. Numerous other guided trips available as well as equipment rental and sales.

  • Air Museum New England Air Museum  – Aviation buffs will love the collections including over 125 aircraft, 200 aircraft engines and outstanding array of aviation artifacts. The museum is located at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

Each of these recommendations brings back treasured memories of an area rich in natural beauty, historic preservation and cultural enrichments. I’m ready to plan a return visit to Connecticut’s Farmington River Valley.

San Antonio Parties with a Purpose

San Antonio - Vendor With tax season at a close San Antonio prepares for the biggest party of the year. Truly a citywide celebration, Fiesta San Antonio begins today. More than a hundred scheduled events continue through April 25, 2010. The tradition reaches back 119 years when citizens decided to honor the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.

Horse-drawn carriages, bicycles decorated with fresh flowers and floats carrying children dressed as flowers comprised the first parade. At the 1891 parade half the participants went one direction, the other half headed the opposite way pelting each other with blossoms as they passed – thus the name, the Battle of Flowers Parade. The 2010 version steps off down Broadway on Friday, April 23.

San Antonio - River Parade Dancer Additional parades have been added over the years including the popular Texas Cavaliers River Parade and Fiesta Flambeau Night Parade. The Fiesta Military Parade takes place on the parade grounds at Lackland Air Force Base April 21st. The King William Historic District sponsors a fair and parade; even canines get in the act with an official Fiesta Pooch Parade.

Every single official 2010 Fiesta event is sponsored by a local nonprofit group or military organization. Arts, performances, feasts, sports, music and balls attract more than 3 millSan Antonio - Alamo with Flowersion attendees during the eleven days.

Many Fiesta events honor Texas’ rich history and heritage. One of the most solemn is the Pilgrimage to the Alamo (April 19. 2010). In tribute to the Alamo heroes a procession of historic, civic, patriotic, military and school groups walk in silence from the Municipal Auditorium to the Alamo. As each group places a floral wreath on the greensward the names of the Alamo defenders resound from inside the famed walls.

The Alamo: These Sacred Walls (April 21, 2010),  presented by a living historian dressed in period attire, tells the story of historical events leading up to the Alamo siege, the siege itself and its aftermath.

San Antono - Rodeo Queen Much more festive is A Day in Old Mexico & Charreada (April 18 and 25, 2010). This event carries on the tradition of Charreria which originated in 19th century Mexico as a way for the gentry to prepare horses and riders for war. Over time Charreria evolved into an equestrian competition featuring horse reining, bull riding and roping skills.

Today’s charros (traditional horsemen or cowboys) wear the traditional clothes and use horse equipment as required by the Federation of Charros in Mexico.  Young women demonstrate their riding skills in the colorful Escaramuza; six or twelve member teams execute precision movements while riding sidesaddle and wearing ranchera dresses. In addition to the Charreada there’s plenty of mariachi music, Mexican ballet folklorico, food and drink.San Antonio - Rodeo

 

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A Night In Old San Antonio – NIOSA - attracts a huge gathering  to La Villita Historic District four nights during Fiesta (April 20-23, 20San Antonio - NIOSA10). Friends and strangers meet and feast in the 18th-century Spanish neighborhood in the heart of downtown San Antonio. More than 250 food booths arranged in 15 ethnic areas serve  up everything from Armadillo eggs (jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheddar cheese and baked in a biscuit-batter) to ZiegenBock beer.

Entertainers on a dozen stages provide music for noshing and partying – polka at Sauerkraut Bend, country & western at Frontier Town, The Sabas Trio at Villa Espana.

When we visited San Antonio during Fiesta San Antonio, we loved all the events we could cram into four days, from morning to late night. I can’t quite imagine keeping up the pace for all 11 days – but, it might be fun to try. If you’ve ever enjoyed time in San Antonio or haven’t yet visited this unique city, I suggest putting a late April visit on your destination list. Whether it’s the Sticky Wicket Croquet Tournament, Pinatas in the Barrio or Miss Margaret’s Victorian House Tour there’s a Fiesta event to match your interest. And remember, all the proceeds support one of the sponsoring non-profit organizations – join in as San Antonio parties with a purpose.

San Antonio - Male Riders San Antonio - Restaurant

 

San Antonio - Art Fair

San Antonio - River Parade

San Antonio Highlight

Although not one of the official Fiesta events one of my favorite San Antonio experiences is the Sunday Mariachi Mass at Mission San Jose, one of the churches comprising San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

San Antonio - Mission

San Antonio - Mariachi Band

The church at Mission San Jose is an active parish with a full mass schedule. The Sunday12:30pm mass is a bilingual/mariachi worship attended by parishioners and tourists. The welcome is warm but it’s advisable to arrive early since the church frequently fills to capacity. Please dress and behave appropriately.

Tacoma’s Museum District

Three in One Triangle

Museum of Glass The east end of the Chihuly Bridge of Glass deposits us on the rooftop plaza of the Museum of Glass. Several temporary outdoor exhibits join the permanent Water Forest by Howard Ben Tré along the terraces and reflecting pools. On clear days – yes, you can experience a bright, blue sunny day in Tacoma – Mt. Rainier rises over the city in glaciated splendor.

Clad in stainless steel, a distinctive 90-foot tilted cone symbolizes the city’s transformation from industrial to cultural center. Architects took inspiration from the wood burners found at sawmills when the regional economy prospered from lumbering. A grand staircase wraps down the cone to the museum entrance.

The cone houses the core of the museum’s commitment to glass – The Hot Shop Amphitheater. Tiered seating accommodates 200 visitors while teams of artists experiment, demonstrate and create with molten glass in this arena for art. Cameras transmit live video to large screens providing up-close viewing of the process while a narrator explains terminology, materials and techniques, and answers questions from the entranced audiencHot Shop Audiencee. Not in Tacoma? Watch the Hot Shop in operation live via web streaming.

When entering the working studio we note the heat and roar of gas furnaces where batch glass is melted to temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A team member gathers molten glass on the end of a blowpipe. With the first breath of air we see the magical beginnings of an art form dating from the time of Christ. As the objects are shaped and blown they require reheating in the glory hole to keep the piece malleable. Other team members prepare colors and additional molten materials. The artist keeps the pipe in perpetual Artist in Hot Shopturns using and resisting the powers of gravity and centrifugal force.

The narrator tells us that the artists we’re seeing come from Rhode Island, the Midwest and California, each with 8-10 years of experience. Some observers stay for 15 minutes while others spend hours watching the intricate choreography and teamwork as a fine glass sculpture evolves. Differing perspectives and viewing angles intrigue as we circle the Hot Shop on the elevated walkway – stopping often to observe the action below.

The museum dedicates exhibition space to contemporary art in all medias. In the Education Studio guest artists lead visitors in interactive, experience-based learning activities. Daily docent-led tours focus on either the current gallery exhibit or the architectural structure and outdoor installations.

We pause our museum tour for a restful lunch in Gallucci’s Glass Café overlooking the water. Before leaving we make sure to browse the Museum Store where we find glass art made in the Hot Shop as well as pieces from an array of contemporary artists, a broad selection of books, jewelry and gift items.

Tacoma Union Station The west end of the Chihuly Bridge of Glass leads to additional cultural attractions and city center. The Washington State History Museum relates man’s encounters and influences through multi-media presentations. No dusty shelves of relics here. From early Native Americans and sea explorers to the aviation industry the story of the Pacific Northwest unfolds. We return twice during our stay to this innovative facility to tour the quality permanent and temporary exhibits.

The Tacoma Art Museum completes the museum triangle. Collections include European Impressionism, Japanese woodblock prints, American graphic art and Northwest Art. Not surprisingly, the museum holds a large public collection of Chihuly Glass representing major series of his works from 1977 to present.

Union Station Window An added bonus to the museum triangle is the former Union Station now serving as a Federal Courthouse. The restored Romanesque building features a six-story rotunda – a perfect gallery for Chihuly artwork. A 1,000-piece chandelier hangs under the central dome and a massive arched window is adorned with 27 monumental sized glass creations Chihuly named the Monarch Window.

I used to considered Tacoma the half-sister to Seattle but after spending several days and exploring the museum triangle we found her a worthy sibling rival.

When You Go: The Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau is a helpful resource in planning your Tacoma and surrounding Pierce County visit.

Related Blog – Bridging Tacoma in Glass

All That Glass – Chihuly Glass, That Is

OKCMA - Entrance Chandilier Circling the block in search of a parking space we’re already in awe of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s Chihuly Glass collection. A 55-foot tall glass tower comprised of 2100 separate hand blown glass pieces dominates the atrium entrance. The Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower stands three stories tall on a black granite reflecting pool. This remarkable piece is only the beginning of one of the most comprehensive collections of Dale Chihuly glass in the world.OKCMA  - Entrance Chandilier Closeup

Whether trying to take in the entire tower or studying the multitude of individual pieces twisting and turning in one small segment we’re struck by the artistry and complexity of the structure. As Chihuly admirers we’ve seen many installations of his works in various settings around the country, this is truly an outstanding (and upstanding) original.

Before researching this trip we didn’t know that the Oklahoma City Museum of Art had such a large collection of Chihuly glass – Seaform Bowls - B one of their permanent exhibits. The first time I saw a Chihuly exhibition (in West Palm Beach) I fell in love with the Seaforms; they’re the first pieces I see at the OCMA. More subtle in color than many of the works, the form and fluid patterns in the Seaform pieces stand out – especially in the dark display cases. I can imagine these creations floating in the depths of the sea.

Chihuly is an artist always moving into new arenas, challenging the limits and gaining inspiration from a broad spectrum. The museum showcases works throughout his career and from many of his series – Ikebana, Chihuly - Macchia Forest and Reflections-n Putti, baskets, spears and Jerusalem Cylinders. The Macchia Forest pieces deserve close attention. Macchia is Italian for spotted. Not only are these giant freeform bowls spotted with intense color, the exterior and interior colors are different. A layer of white opaque glass separates the two sides. As light shines through the pieces the wall shadows fascinate as much as the glass. When I think of the beginning glob of molten glass and see the final size and complexity of construction I can’t help but wonder, “How do they do that?”

We stop to watch a continuously running video compiled from a number of filmings of the Chihuly crew in action. Watching the teamwork required gives new appreciation. It’s also fascinating to see the variety of installations he’s done around the world and how he ties them into the environment and culture.

Chihuly - Ceiling and Hall-n

Ceilings are a favorite Chihuly display technique; many admirers have stood in awe of the Bellagio ceiling in Las Vegas. It’s so large and with so many pieces I find it almost impossible to take in. At OCMA the ceiling combines hundreds of pieces from the Persian and Seaform series. I absolutely couldn’t resist the urge to lay down on the floor to look straight up into the layers of color and shapes. I could study this for hours. As one moves under the ceiling the lighting and shading makes each view unique. Again, the wall shadows and reflections are worthy of notice.

For more ceiling photos click below.

The Chihuly Waterford Crystal Chandelier in the lobby of the Museum’s Noble Theater shouldn’t be missed. In 1996 Dale Chihuly spent time at the Waterford Crystal factory in Ireland. Working with the glassblowers and Chihuly - Waterford Chandelier-n etchers there they created two crystal chandeliers. One was hung over a canal as part of the Chihuly Over Venice installation. The other came to Oklahoma City for the Museum of Arts Dale Chihuly: The Inaugural Exhibition and later was purchased by the Museum. His chandeliers have never been among my favorites, some strike me as too over the top. However, the over 200 lead crystal pieces come together in an exquisite work of creative art.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art and all that glass proved to be an outstanding highlight of our Oklahoma art tour.

When You Go: The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is open daily except Mondays and major holidays.

Chihuly - Boat with Orbs-n

Enjoy additional Chihuly Glass at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Bridging Tacoma in Glass

Ceiling Panel DayA - Blog Light streams through thousands of handcrafted glass objects resembling purple sea urchins, red reeds, and ruffled clamshells. We stand beneath a 50-foot ceiling along a portion of the pedestrian Chihuly Bridge of Glass which spans Interstate 705 in Tacoma, Washington. The longer we observe the art forms inspired by the sea the more details surface to our appreciative eyes.

The unique bridge and public art showcase features the creations of world-renown glass artist Dale Chihuly, a Tacoma native son. More than 200 museums hold collections of Chihuly pieces. Here, three distinctive installations reflect the creative leaps Chihuly hasBridge at DuskA - Blog introduced to glass art and sculpture.

Dedicated in July, 2002, the 500-foot-long bridge links downtown Tacoma with the Thea Foss Waterway and the Museum of Glass. Below the structure, railroad tracks and the interstate spur run into the city.

Those walking across the span encounter the glass ceiling of the Seaform Pavilion, two ice blue CryCeiling Panel at NightA - Blogstal Towers jutting skyward, and the Venetian Wall displaying 109 Chihuly sculptures. With traffic zipping underfoot visitors pause to view and photograph.  Someone points to a buttery yellow form almost three-feet in diameter and comments on the undulating rim. Soon, complete strangers join in a show-and-tell of favorite colors, shapes and overlays.

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          Ardent admirers assume a prone position on the walkway, gazing upward. The flow of glass and color seems to pulsate – reminiscent of a gentle tide on a sandy beach. A slightly different angle produces an iridescence similar to an abalone’s inner shell. The ceiling incorporates 2,364 individual glass pieces.

Each of the glacial blue Crystal Towers standing 40 feet above the bridge deck are made of 63 large hollow Polyvitro crystals, not glass. Chihuly comments, “As with glass, it is really light that makes the Polyvitro crystals come alive."

The 80-foot long Venetian Wall showcases a colorful array of creations from three Chihuly series;

  • Venetians – inspired by Venetian Art Deco glass 
  • Ikebana – in the spirit of traditional Japanese floral arrangements
  • Putti – popular 16th & 17th century European art figures representing Cupid – the Roman god of love. Chihuly places his unique Putti atop classical vases.

Wall of Works DayA - Blog Wall of Works NightA - Blog

As fascinating as the pieces are in natural daylight they become ever more dramatic under fiber-optic illumination at night. After dark illuminated colors intensify in contrast to night skies and pieces glow from reflecting headlights. Day or night strolling the Chihuly Bridge of Glass is the most artful way you’ve crossed an Interstate highway.

When You Go: The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is open 24 hours a day. A spectacular free display of original art in public places.

Chihuly Bridge of Glass - Tacoma, Washington
Chihuly Bridge of Glass – Tacoma, Washington

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Related Post – Tacoma’s Museum District

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