Posts Tagged ‘art in Tacoma’

ceiling panel, chihuly bridge of glass, tacoma, washingtonTo get to the Museum of Glass, in Tacoma, Washington, I’m told I have to cross the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. That’s intriguing. A glass bridge? Isn’t it kind of, um, fragile? I’m staying at the Marriott Downtown, across Pacific Avenue and a block or so from the museum, so I trot over and look for the bridge. I find it up the stairs from the plaza where the Washington History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Union Station are located. There it is, 500 feet long, a covered pedestrian bridge high above the I-705 freeway.

Happily, I’m not walking on anything breakable. The glass part is in the ceiling, where at least 20 panels are filled with shapes that resemble undersea life–kelp, jellyfish, octopus–in brilliant blues, yellows, greens and reds. The sides of the bridge have display windows, each holding a stunning piece of art glass.

A strange-looking building stands on the other side of the bridge. Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WashingtonIt’s the Museum of Glass, a giant, tilted cone on a broad plaza by the water, with pools and glass sculptures. Inside are galleries of changing and permanent exhibitions showing amazingly creative glass art works. One gallery has pieces designed by kids and made by the Hot Shop Team.

The Hot Shop is an amphitheater in the museum where artists blow and shape molten glass, and that alone is worth a visit. I watch enthralled as a blob of red-hot glass on a tube becomes an elegant, twisted . . . something. The museum also has a cafe and gift shop (wearable art glass, anyone?)

More glass sculpture in astonishing shapes is on showcased in the nearby  Tacoma Art Museum, and yet more in Union Station, a former railway station that is now a federal courthouse and historic landmark. Tacoma, south of Seattle on Puget Sound, has become a center for glass art because of one Tacoma native, the world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly led the contemporary movement toward large-scale, handblown works and the recognition of them as significant art.

The Museum of Glass is open 7 days a week in summer. It’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays the rest of the year and some holidays. Admission is free for museum members, $12 general,  $10 seniors and students, $5 children 6-12, and free if you’re under 6. It’s free to everyone the 3rd Thursday of the month from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Read Full Post »