Chihuly Exhibit

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Frozen light are words often used to describe the brilliant, colorful blown-glass artwork of Dale Chihuly. HORIZONTE presents a tour of his latest installation on display through May at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden.

Dale Chihuly's blown glass art work is being shown all over the world to rave reviews. It's now here for Valley art lovers at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix in a colorful feast for the eyes. Mike Sauceda and photographer Richard Torruellas give us a tour of the latest Chihuly installation.

Mike Sauceda: Imagination. Light. Gravity. Human breath. Those are the hallmarks of Dale Chihuly blown glass artwork on display at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.

Lady in package: I think his work is, it's very happy; it's very appealing because it's so colorful and because it's in a garden setting, it really -- it kind of feels very natural among the plants. There's a synergy between the plants and the glass. And I think it really stands out because it's colorful and playful and visitors really enjoy it.

Mike Sauceda: Another word to describe Chihuly's work, organic. Many of his pieces seem like a part of nature. Like this glass tower resembling an agave plant made specifically for the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Lady in Package: The pieces right when you come into the entrance of our garden and our upward spiral at the admissions were made specifically for the garden. This is their debut here. We're very excited about those pieces. Some of the pieces have been shown in other garden exhibits around the world. But that is very exciting for us to have them here because they do look different in a desert setting than perhaps a tropical garden. So we are very excited to have them here even though they've been shown in other places and each time they're installed, they're installed a little differently so they don't always look exactly the same. They may have a slightly different shape and colors in different places than they were in the other exhibits.

Mike Sauceda: When visitors first drive up to the Desert Botanical Gardens, they get a sneak peek of the exhibit with a 30-foot neon tower which glows spectacularly at night. Planning for the installation is precise. The Chihuly team came out about a year before it opened to select locations for the displays of hand blown glass art.

Lady in Package: The planning for this exhibit started well in advance. We had site visits from the people that work at the Chihuly studios that came out about a year in advance and walked the garden and came out multiple times to look at the locations and plan out where they were going to place the pieces and what pieces were going to be in each location. So there was a lot of planning that went on well in advance.

Mike Sauceda: As people stroll through the Desert Botanical Gardens, they're treated to displays of frozen light created by Chihuly. Some trick in the eye and blending in with the plants that surround them.

Lady in Package: Some are subtle, some are tucked away. For instance, in our shade garden, that's off the path a little bit, a quiet area to see the pieces and out on the desert oasis. On the plants and people trail, that one is tucked away. The map helps for those locations.

Mike Sauceda: Other installations are clearly the beautiful creation of a man and not nature.

Lady in Package: Everybody looks dazzled when they see the pieces especially the scale of the pieces. To read about them, to hear about their size in an article is one thing, but to actually come and see them in person and see how large a lot are, how bright and colorful, they're more dramatic in person than people are expecting them to be so when they get to the garden and walk in and see them, like the piece behind us, it's like, ooh! Wow! They weren't expecting it to be that magnificent in person.

Mike Sauceda: The glass boats draw crowds. Because the display is out in the open desert air, special care and cleaning is needed for the artwork.

Lady in Package: There's a whole process involved of wearing white gloves and we have cotton cloths we have to clean them with and a special cleaner that's friendly to our plants as well.

Mike Sauceda: Reservations are required to view the Chihuly installation. They're sold in four-hour blocks.

Lady in Package: The pieces in the daylight in the sun look great, but in the evening, when they're all lit up against the dark sky, it's very dramatic. It's almost like two exhibits, seeing it in the day and then seeing it again at night. I would highly recommend if people have the opportunity to come and see it in the evening hours. It really looks beautiful.

José Cárdenas: Chihuly, the nature of glass will be on display until May 31st.

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