Dale Chuhuly's glass sculptures form the basis of the National Liberty Museum's renowned art collection. Fourteen Chihuly works -- ranging from chandeliers to "Sea and Shell Forms" -- fill a permanent display. His 20-foot "Flame of Liberty" pierces through two floors of exhibits; the commissioned work contains more than 500 pieces of hand-blown scarlet glass and is a tribute to people around the world who have fought for liberty.
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in Harvey Littleton?s seminal glass program at the University of Wisconsin. Chihuly continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he later established the glass program.
In 1968, Chihuly was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work at the Venini factory in Venice, Italy. While in Venice, Chihuly observed they Italians? team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to his studio today. In 1971 Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School, in Stanwood, Washington. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass blowing as a studio art and the broader contemporary interest in glass as an expressive medium. His work is included in over one hundred ninety museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including honorary doctorates from the University of Puget Sound, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the California College of Arts and Crafts. Chihuly has also been honored with two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Council for the Arts Visual Artist's Award and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award.
Chihuly has created many well-known series of works, among them the Baskets, Persians and Seaforms, but he is most celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1995 he embarked on the multi-faceted international project, "Chihuly Over Venice," which involved collaborative glass blowing at factories in Finland, Ireland and Mexico. The resultant sculptures were mounted over the canals and piazze of Venice as part of that city?s first glass biennial.
In 1999, Chihuly mounted his most ambitious exhibition to date: "Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000." With support teams from Seattle and Israel he created 15 installations within the stone walls of an ancient fortress, now the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem. In 2001, the exhibition "Chihuly at the V & A" will open at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Irvin J. Borowsky, Founder and Chairman of the National Liberty Museum, says Chihuly's work embodies the very essence of the museum's message -- the simultaneous strength, fragility and beauty of liberty.