One of the benefits of working in horticulture is that it’s easy to combine business with pleasure. When PHS president Drew Becher went to visit family in Texas this summer, he easily convinced his kin to take a trip to the Dallas Arboretum. The beautiful 66-acre site is currently extra beautiful thanks to an art installation from world-famous glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.
Flower Show fans might remember Chihuly’s contribution to the 2008 Flower Show, “Jazz It Up!” For the occasion, the Washington-born artist constructed a sparkling chartreuse piano that was the centerpiece of the rotating performance stage.
Now, four years later, the large-scale installation in Dallas features more than 16 original pieces. Some are suspended on towering posts, other are staged so that they appear to float on water. As Ruthie Pack of the Dallas Arboretum Board of Directors says, “Chihuly’s colorful sculptures reflect his love of nature and look spectacular with the natural beauty throughout the garden.”
Following his visit, Drew said, “Because his work is site-specific, his creations have an amazing way of capturing a sense of place.” Of all the sculptures, Drew’s favorite was one called “Persian Pond,” which was situated in a section of the arboretum known as the grotto. Unlike the other Chihuly pieces—a colorful collection of reds and oranges—this sculpture is an ethereal, semi-opaque white. The indescribable glass formations might call to mind lily pads, conch shells, or even paper fans.
The entire presentation—on display through November 5—is sponsored by AT&T and Bank of America (among others). Bank of America is also a Flower Show sponsor, so clearly the company has good taste!
“While walking through the arboretum, I kept thinking of the all the fantastic places in the Philadelphia region that could inspire Chihuly and showcase his talents. There are 28 locations affiliated with Greater Philadelphia Gardens, and any one of them could host such an exhibit, or perhaps Chihuly could create one sculpture per garden—encouraging people to try to see them all.”
Great idea, Drew; let’s make it happen!