Explore the Columbia Museum of Art

By:Amy Holtcamp

Date:5/4/2010

Chihuly sculpture at the Columbia Museum of Art
Dale Chihuly chandelier greets visitors to the Columbia Museum of Art.

This week, I stopped by the ​Columbia Museum of Art, one of the finest art museums in the South. As I walked into the cool, two-story atrium, I looked up to see something that looked like a jellyfish made of flame, it’s fiery tendrils reaching out to the museum walls. It was the new Dale Chihuly chandelier and it is breathtaking.

Dale Chihuly is credited with elevating modern glassblowing to the status of high art. Together with a team of craftsmen (injuries to the artist’s shoulder in 1979 left him unable to hold the glass blowing pipe,) Chihuly is famous for his dramatic and colorful glass works. World-class museums around the world, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, are home to large-scale, architectural installations by Chihuly like the one that now hangs in Columbia.

Last year the Columbia Museum of Art was home to a stunning exhibit of Chihuly’s Seaforms – glass pieces inspired by ocean life and the shoreline of his native Pacific Northwest. The exhibit was such a success that the Contemporaries, a group of young, professional museum members, decided to commission the chandelier. The group raised $360,000 through private donations and fundraisers to purchase the chandelier, as well as to pay for its continued maintenance, educational programs and a documentary about its creation. The Contemporaries decided on its “Carolina Sunset” color scheme in order to evoke the hometown slogan: “Columbia: Famously Hot.”

The Columbia Museum of Art is located at 1515 Hampton Street in the heart of downtown Columbia. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $8 for military and seniors. Every Sunday, admission is free. For more information on the Columbia Museum of Art visit www.columbiamuseum.o​rg.

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