Prepare to be transfixed by crystallized glass chandeliers, a tumbleweed forest and a meditative boat room as you take a tour of the Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, in St. Petersburg.
The Chihuly Collection opened to the public July 10, 2010. One of the newest jewels of St. Pete’s vibrant arts-and-culture scene, it features 16 stunning installations ranging from small vessels to room-size installations. To produce unique visual stimulation, each installation is complemented by an individually designed space, whether a glossy black platform, curving wall or narrow hallway with a mesmerizing glass ceiling above.
Dale Chihuly was born in 1941 in Tacoma, Wash. His fascination with glass began as a weaving student while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, he enrolled in the first glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he later established the school’s glass program and taught for more than a decade.
In 1968, Chihuly received a Fulbright Fellowship to work at the Venini Factory, in Venice, Italy. It was there that he learned well the team approach to blowing glass, which he continues to this day. In 1971, he co-founded Pilchuck Glass School, in Washington, where he has paved the way in the development of glass as a fine art.
Chihuly is perhaps better known for his vessels, which he began developing in the mid-1970s, focusing his interest in sculpture on the vessel to create individual pieces that gradually increased in size and color. He has worked on several temporary outdoor projects, such as “Chihuly over Venice,” during which he worked in glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, and “Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000.”
The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center includes large-scale installations for which he is celebrated, such as the stunning Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, created specifically for this collection, along with popular series work that includes Macchia, Niijima floats, Persians and Tumbleweeds.
BY THE NUMBERS
10,000 — number of square feet of the gallery
7,600 — number of square feet used as gallery space
200 — number of museum collections that house Dale Chihuly’s work
16 — number of installations
WHAT: The Chihuly Collection
WHERE: 400 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg
WHY: The Chihuly Collection, which opened July 10, 2010, at the Morean Arts Center, is a permanent collection of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s artwork in a 10,000-square-foot setting designed by architect Albert Alfonso. The collection also includes a retail store as well as a 30-seat theater. The Glass Studio and Hot Shop recently opened at its Central Avenue location, offering guests the opportunity to see live glass-blowing demonstrations.
INFO: Call 727-896-4527 or visit MoreanArtsCenter.orgS
ADDITIONAL ARTS ATTRACTIONS
St. Petersburg offers a variety of family-friendly venues. Here are some noteworthy places to check out when visiting.
163 Third St., St. Petersburg
American Stage started out in an old cinema house in downtown St. Petersburg with 179 seats. In 1984, it moved to an alternative site, an intimate 130-seat space with a lobby, costume shop, rehearsal hall and office space, where it flourished for the next quarter-century. In the 2006-2007 season, the theater entered into a partnership with St. Petersburg College to build a new state-of-the-art building in the heart of downtown St. Pete.
Museum of Fine Arts
255 Beach Drive N.E., St. Petersburg
This museum is on the water and surrounded by a shady park, restaurants and shops. The collection encompasses more than 14,000 objects from antiquity to present day, and features French impressionist paintings, plus galleries of Steuben glass, decorative arts and pre-Columbian objects. Make sure to take a walk through two interior gardens and the second-floor gallery, where paper and photographic works are displayed. Not to miss is the museum’s photography collection of more than 10,000 images.
The Dali Museum
1 Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg
The permanent home of the world’s most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dalí’s work, The Dali Museum boasts 96 oil paintings, more than 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objects, plus an extensive archival library. The event calendar for August features Yoga + Dali every Sunday; Dillydally with Dali, where children can learn via storytelling, puzzles and games; Dali and Beyond Film Series, a documentary that surveys the life and art of Dali; Get Social @The Dali, a social media event for Tweeters and Facebook followers; and more.
620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg
This quaint little studio in downtown St. Petersburg is home to both the visual and performing arts. The brainchild of Artistic Directors David Ellis and Bob Devin Jones, the studio’s calendar is jam-packed with movement and dance classes, summer repertory, film screenings and concerts.