Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Art Museum Commissions Chihuly

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Art Museum Commissions Chihuly

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY (JR) -- Dale Chihuly has been commissioned to do a signature piece for the new Oklahoma City Art Museum, which will be at Centre Theatre downtown.

Chihuly has created works of art in sculptured glass for museum, business, educational and religious sites.

The glass sculpture will be installed in the 60-foot atrium at the entrance of the museum. It will be visible from both the inside and the outside.

The sculpture will be a memorial to the late Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick and underwritten by the Oklahoma City Beaux Arts Societe, which she founded in 1945 to raise money for the Oklahoma City Art Museum.

Chihuly, a native of Washington state, lives and has his studio in Puget Sound.

The sculpture will be shipped from Seattle to Oklahoma City in pieces. Chihuly and his team will come to Oklahoma City to assemble and install the work.

Construction of the museum is expected to start early next year and the opening planned in late 2001, when the sculpture will be unveiled and dedicated.

"Chihuly has single-handedly revived glassblowing, a medium of 2000 years ago," said Carolyn Hill, executive director of the museum. "In a sense, the commissioned work is symbolic of not only a renaissance in art form, but also of the museum. Chihuly's installation will become an icon of dazzling and magical welcome to our visitors."

Hill first contacted the Chihuly studio and began discussing a signature art work for a new museum in 1994. This past December, Chihuly came to Oklahoma City to meet with Hill, Allen Brown, project architect, Charles Nesbitt, collections chair, and Charles Nelson, museum president. The agreement was finalized in February.

The Beaux Arts Committee donates money raised by the annual Beaux Arts Ball to the Oklahoma City Art Museum for acquisitions. The museum holds the money in a trust account and has been reserving and growing the account for a major acquisition.

Chihuly has insisted on a confidential agreement on the cost of the commission because he is donating a significant portion of the commission fee as an in-kind contribution to the museum.

He developed his interest in the melting and fusing of glass while in college -- using his basement as a studio. …

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