Desert Botanical Garden was just picked as the top spot to take Valley visitors by readers of Phoenix Magazine and now with the opening of the Chihuly in the Garden exhibit there are 21 new reasons for locals and tourists alike to go to the gardens.
Glass master Dale Chihuly rarely exhibits twice in the same garden, but he made an exception with Desert Botanical Gardens, returning after a stellar “The Nature of Glass” exhibit in 2008/2009. The new exhibit is entirely different than the first show and opens Nov. 10 and runs until May 18, 2014.
“I am pleased to be returning to Desert Botanical Garden with an opportunity to present my work in a new and different way,” said Chihuly.
When Chihuly came to the Garden before, Desert Botanical Gardens experienced a crush of visitors.
“Everyday for six months in a row was like the day after Thanksgiving for us,” said Ken Schutz, the Dr. William Huizingh executive director at a media preview of the exhibit.
To accommodate the rush of guests expected this time around, The Garden has added 200 parking spaces and is offering timed tickets to the event; 8 a.m to Noon, Noon to 4 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.
The Chihuly in the Garden instillation features 21 glass sculptures scattered throughout the 55-acre grounds. The sculptures arrived in pieces and a team of 12 team members from Chihuly’s studio took over two weeks to painstakingly assemble each sculpture. A representative from the studio said there is no instruction manual to a sculpture, rather the team knows Chihuly’s aesthetic so well they are able to build it organically, although the master himself looked at photos as each piece was going up. For this reason, no installation is every exactly the same as a past installation.
Chihuly in the Garden contains both pieces created specifically for this show and past pieces from other exhibits. Some of the showcase pieces include:
- · Sapphire Star: Positioned when you enter the Gardens, this blue and clear sculpture contains over 720 spires of glass.
- · Summer Sun: This Medusa looking tangle of glass brings together 2000 pieces of red, yellow and orange elements.
- · Scarlet and Yellow Asymmetrical Towers: These pieces flank the entrance to the Desert Discovery Loop Trail and were originally debuted at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew.