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Phipps acquires pieces of Chihuly glass art

Visitors who fell in love with the widely popular Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens can look forward to a permanent encore starting later this month.

Phipps has acquired 26 pieces from the “Chihuly at Phipps: Gardens & Glass” exhibit, which closed in late February after a nearly 10-month run that attracted almost 400,000 visitors from every state and dozens of other countries. By contrast, Phipps got 191,000 visitors in 2006, officials said.

The flamboyant Chihuly pieces — which include six colorful Macchia bowls and 13 of the swirly, curly Amber Cattails sculpted by Chihuly, a renowned Seattle glass artist — will be installed in Phipps’ Palm Court July 21-22 and will be available for viewing July 23.

The Chihuly exhibit was a spectacular hit with visitors, and Phipps officials are thrilled to be bringing some of it back for the Oakland institution’s permanent collection, officials said.

“It’s been very successful for us, and we’re really, really pleased with the amount of glass coming back to us,” said Michael Sexauer, Phipps’ director of marketing and communications. “It dresses up Phipps.”

In a written statement, Richard V. Piacentini, executive director, said the Chihuly pieces are a “truly wonderful addition to Phipps.”

“The joining of Dale Chihuly’s artwork and Phipps’ horticulture thoroughly enhances the experience for every visitor,” said Piacentini, who was travelling Wednesday and unavailable for further comment.

The pieces will complete a $1.2 million project, funded by private and business donors through Phipps’ Glass Acquisition Fund, that began with the four pieces Phipps kept after the exhibit closed. Those pieces include the giant Goldenrod, Teal and Citron Chandelier in the Welcome Center, which was purchased with a $340,000 donation from the Downtown-based Colcom Foundation.

Donors range from the Shadyside-based DSF Charitable Foundation to the pocket change from visitors in a drop box at the conservatory, he said.

All of the pieces will be installed in the Palm Court, because the other parts of Phipps change seasonally and it would be difficult to work around the pieces, Sexauer said. Phipps will be open on the installation days, although visitors might need to be re-routed around the construction.

On Friday evenings, when Phipps is open until 10 p.m., the Chihuly pieces will be illuminated with lights under the glass roof.

Additional Information:

Chihuly at Phipps

Admission prices at Phipps will remain the same: $10 for adults, $9 for age 62 and older and students with ID, and $7 for ages 2-18. Details: 412-622-6914, or www.phipps.conservatory.org .


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