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Top 7 places to see Chihuly in Tacoma

Where to see the works of one of our own

Union Station is open to the public, free and feels like a Chihuly museum inside. Photo credit: Kristin Kendle

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Tacoma has become increasingly artsy over the past 15 or 20 years, but long before T-Town was known for its museums and galleries galore, it was an industrial city that also happened to be the hometown to world-class glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Chihuly lived his young years in Tacoma and then went on to hone his glass skills, learning and working with glass artists around the world. Today, his glass art can be seen everywhere from the casinos of Las Vegas to the finest galleries in the world. His work can also be seen throughout Tacoma in installations both large and small. Even better - most of Chihuly's work in Tacoma can be seen for free.

Bridge of Glass

Tacoma's greatest showcase of Chihuly's work is the Bridge of Glass. Built in 2002, the bridge has three installations along its 500-foot span - a glass ceiling filled with colorful glass; two tall, blue towers made of a material similar to polyurethane that are illuminated at night, and an 80-foot-long wall filled with the most beautiful glass vases you'll ever see. Entrances behind the Washington State History Museum and near Museum of Glass

Museum of Glass

The museum often has Chihuly's work on exhibition as he's been at the museum as a Visiting Artist a few times. The museum also has a hot shop, where visitors can watch glass being blown live. Keep an eye on the schedule and you might even have an opportunity to watch Chihuly himself in action. 1801 Dock Street

Union Station

Located between the Washington State History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum, Union Station is the closest thing to a Chihuly museum you'll find in the area. Union Station is a federal courthouse, but its main public space is a large rotunda that's open to the public during business hours. On the four sides of the rotunda, there are four installations of Chihuly's work - drawings and paintings on one wall, and glass on the other three. Enter Union Station for free, but since it is a federal courthouse, you will be ID'd and possibly have someone look in your bags at the entrance. 1717 Pacific Ave.

University of Puget Sound

UPS is a private university located in North Tacoma and it so happens that Chihuly is an alum. Chihuly created an installation that hangs in the Susan Resnek Pierce Atrium of Wyatt Hall. When the campus is open, anyone can enter the building and admire the artwork. 1500 N. Warner Street

Pacific Lutheran University

PLU has a Chihuly exhibition located in its Mary Baker Russell Music Center. The installation is called "Glass Roses" and features four large glass "roses," each consisting of nine large pieces of glass. During the hours when campus is open, visitors can enter Mary Baker and see the pieces, but they're also visible from outside the building as they're mounted in a window. 12180 Park Ave.

University of Washington - Tacoma

Of all the local schools with Chihuly installations, UWT may have the best - a 19-foot-tall, 1,500-pound chandelier located in the campus library and visible from outside of the building. At night, the structure is lit up and glows bright red, an impressive sight. UWT is close to Union Station and Tacoma's museums - makes an easy stop if you're in the area. 1900 Commerce St.

Tacoma Art Museum

Tacoma Art Museum is home to several pieces of Chihuly's glass spanning the length of his career and the breadth of his work. Chihuly works in series, for example, the large, spun Persians or vase-like Venetians. Tacoma Art Museum has examples from almost all of his series in its permanent collection, which is currently on view in its own gallery at the museum. 1701 Pacific Ave.

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