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Seattle is a City of Glass (Art)

There’s no mistaking the work of Dale Chihuly. The studio glass master’s distinct, massive installations are found around the world – 2,000 brightly colored flowers on the lobby ceiling of The Bellagio in Las Vegas and the undulating blue-and-yellow chandelier in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London are among his more high-profile works.
 
Pacific Northwest visitors have the pleasure of coming upon Chihuly’s whimsical creations in many locales. The artist is a native of Tacoma, just 35 minutes south of Seattle, and he chose this area to open his studio and co-found one of the world’s foremost studio-glass schools.

Thanks in part to his presence here, many other amazing glass artists are drawn to the region, filling its galleries, museums and public spaces with their innovative creations. Below are a few places to see, buy and watch them being made:
 
  • Opened in Spring 2012 at the base of the iconic Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass showcases the most comprehensive collection of Chihuly’s artwork ever assembled, including eight expansive galleries and both interior and exterior exhibits.
  • See public Chihuly installations at Benaroya Hall, the Washington State Convention Center, City Centre, the Seattle Aquarium and the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.
  • Visit the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, featuring artist exhibitions, glassblowing demonstrations and an excellent store. Just across the Bridge of Glass, the Tacoma Art Museum boasts a 110-piece Chihuly collection. 
  • Browse Seattle’s most famous glass art galleries, including the William Traver Gallery, Foster White Gallery and Vetri International Glass. 
  • At Canlis Glass + Studio, view Jean-Pierre Canlis’ ocean- and bamboo-inspired pieces. His work is also on view at Hotel 1000, Boka Kitchen + Bar and a dedicated Canlis suite at the Alexis Hotel. 
  • Observe a hot-shop session at the Seattle Glassblowing Studio or glassybaby, and browse their shops to purchase the pieces created there. 
  • Take a hands-on approach with glass classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center, which offers introductory four hour classes in glass and other art mediums each spring and fall.
  • Tour the Glass Eye Studio, where glassblowers produce colorful vases, bowls, ornaments, votives and mores. The studio’s artwork can be purchased at Made in Washington, the Space Needle and the Museum of Glass. 
  • Fifty minutes north of Seattle, in Arlington, visit the studio of Kurt McVay Art Glass (every Wednesday) to see how he makes his iridescent, fused-glass chandeliers, serving platters, bowls and place settings. 
  • Stay at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, where every floor is a mini-gallery dedicated to a different glass artist.

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