New Chihuly glass museum opens

New Chihuly glass museum opens

Credit: KING

New Chihuly glass museum opens

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 22 at 6:08 AM

SEATTLE -- After months of planning and debate, Chihuly Garden and Glass has opened its doors to the public at Seattle Center, showcasing a variety of work from the Northwest artist. 

The artist himself signed the building during a dedication Monday morning.

"It is so exciting," said Michelle Bufano, the museum's director.  "I can't wait to share it with everyone."

Several visitors were spotted Sunday trying to peak through the exhibition's fence so they could catch a better glimpse of the outdoor art.

"It's enticement to come back," said Thea Robertson.

Many more pieces are found inside the exhibition, including some of Dale Chihuly's earliest work in the 1970s, much of which was inspired by baskets and blankets. 

Over time, his exhibitions grew larger and more colorful.  One of the exhibition's highlights is a giant, colorful glass garden called Mille Fiori, which was inspired by Chihuly's mother's garden. 

"We've been able to watch people during our open houses turn the corner and just drop their jaw," Bufano said. 

Another room features a Persian ceiling, with several sea-inspired pieces hovering above, held up by a clear glass ceiling, giving off an "underwater feeling," Bufano said.

The museum's cafe features 28 other collections from Chihuly, including vintage radios and accordions.  Many of the collections are embedded in the dining tables.

"We're worried people are going to say, 'I'd like a reservation for the fish decoy table,'" Bufano said with a laugh. 

From the beginning, the project has faced plenty of opposition from people who feel the Chihuly museum is not the best use of the public space, especially because admission is not free.

Regular admission for adults is $19, but it is $15 for King County residents.  For seniors (65+) admission is $17 and for youth (12 and younger) it is $12.  Kids 3 and under get in for free.

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