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Chihuly in Columbus

Shannon Knapp at the Franklin Park Conservatory
Shannon Knapp at the Franklin Park Conservatory
Photo taken by Erika Mugglin

With rising popularity, Dale Chihuly is being celebrated city wide in Columbus. This celebration is called Chihuly in Columbus and it is secured by three major exhibitions at the Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus Museum of Art and the Hawk Galleries. 

For forty-five years Chihuly has expanded his knowledge and expertise in the art of sculpture and glass blowing. He is considered to be the world’s premier glass artist and with works in over 150 major museums worldwide, his popularity has risen. Columbus has received the popularity of this artist and in recognition, acknowledgment and honor of his success Chihuly in Columbus has become quite a celebration.

Chihuly glass was first displayed at the Franklin Park Conservatory in 2003. His organic forms were installed into several of the plant collections and with a record number of visitors drawn to see his work the Conservatory purchased many of his pieces, making them everlasting in their plant collections. The collection owned by the Conservatory is the largest collection owned by a botanical garden.

Chihuly Reimagined at the Conservatory displays three new installations from the Chihuly Studio. These installations are presented in different configurations and locations from the collection that the conservatory owns. The full collection is available to see and with the new installations on site the conservatory is quite a botanic walk through. Chihuly’s art is perfect for such as setting seeing as it explores the organic forms of plants. 

Chihuly glass was first on view at the Columbus Museum of Art in 1998. The public’s reaction to his chandelier sculptures was so incredible that the Museum extended the exhibition for a whole year. Chihuly Illuminated is the current exhibition at the Museum that explores the medium of light. Works from the 1970's have been brought in and with neon color so bold it cannot be described, this exhibition is a must see. 

With almost 80 Chihuly works to view, Hawk Galleries’ exhibition, Chihuly XIV explores the artists’ work on a smaller scale. This exhibition includes glass vessels, small-scale glass sculptures and drawings. It is interesting to see how detailed the artist was on each individual piece and if the viewer has seen his large scale work, one can imagine all of the work and collaboration needed to create sight-specific installations.

All three exhibitions make for a great day out in Columbus. It does not matter what order these exhibitions are viewed in for the experiences the viewer has at each one is individually extraordinary. From the ceiling displays at the Franklin Park Conservatory to viewing the artists’ small-scale sea forms at the Hawk Galleries, one cannot be dissatisfied.

Exhibition Schedule

  • Chihuly Reimagined, Franklin Park Conservatory July 4, 2009 – March 28, 2010
  • Chihuly Illuminated, Columbus Museum of Art September 25, 2009- July 4, 2010
  • Chihuly XIV, Hawk Galleries October 2, 2009 – January 31, 2010

For directions, rates and more information about each gallery please visit


  • Esther Sylvester 5 years ago

    Great treatment of an awesome artist.

  • Elizabeth Roth 5 years ago

    Fine writing and splendid passion communicated about extraordinary artistry on display in my home town. This young writer has unlimited potential, in my opinion. Thanks for a well-organized critique and invitation to see such beauty on display.

  • Andrew Drolson 5 years ago

    The photo caught my eye right away with its great color and creative shot, but the writing was brilliant as well. This author really shows her passion for the artistic field as well as in her writing. I am looking forward to seeing these exhibits as well.

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