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.org.