The exterior of the Foothills branch of Glendale, AZ library is nondescript. But inside the front door in the lobby, I was blown away by a spectacular Chihuly glass artwork chandelier called The Sun and The Moon. The glass chandelier was purchased by the Glendale Arts Commission in 1999 and installed in 2001. The art piece was commissioned for $200,000 and built over a 3-month period in Seattle.
With Chihuly’s growing fame and popularity, this was an excellent investment. And safe from theft! The chandelier has over one thousand hand-blown glass pieces weight over 2,000 pounds. Even cleaning the chandelier requires special arrangements.
The size of the chandelier is difficult to fathom from my photos since it is so high up. The specs are over 9 feet high and 11 feet wide and deep. So, if you can imagine a very tall basketball player with a small child on their shoulders you are about there.
A Washington State native, Dale Chihuly lives in Seattle, Washington where he has a studio. But he has done art installations all over the world. In 1992, he was named the first national Living Treasure in the USA.
And if you haven’t heard about Dale Chihuly, well, now you have! Here’s a link to his website: https://www.chihuly.com
You might see some of his art which is part of a traveling art exhibit. The New York Botanical Garden had an excellent exhibit years ago with his glass pieces intermingled with the plants and ponds. Chihuly’s are also found in many museums and buildings.
My hometown, San Antonio, has a colorful Chihuly hanging in a large atrium on the second level of the main library downtown. This library was the appropriately my first library blog years ago. (Photo below from San Antonio – a very colorful hanging Chihuly.) But the Chihuly in Arizona is impossible to miss. Everyone entering the library’s main entrance crosses right under it.
And this library also has a very special glass mural. Thirteen glass panels portray “Twenty-four Hours in the Sonoran Desert.” A local Arizona artist, Melissa Paxton, created these panels that start at midnight and depict a single 24 hours, a day and night in the desert, with native plants and animals. Panels are dark, light, or somewhere in between as the day or night wear on. Unfortunately, they were difficult to photograph with the glare from the window and the dark panels didn’t show up well.
Karen Stensgaard is the author of two novels – AQUAVIT and BLUENESS – in the Aquamarine Sea series. AQUAVIT’s ebook is currently discounted to FREE. Check it out for more information. Link to Aquavit on Amazon