Tacoma under glass

By weeklyvolcano on March 26, 2006

Dale Chihuly's hometown breaks away from the crowd
By Robert Cross
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
Published March 26, 2006
TACOMA, Wash. --   If you've never heard of Dale Chihuly, you must not know Tacoma.
That's understandable, because the city is easily overlooked and underestimated, nestled as it is south of Seattle and bordered on three sides by extensions of Puget Sound.
On some maps of Seattle and Vicinity, Tacoma is part of the Vicinity.
But it has that native son named Dale Chihuly, the man who turns out startling art made entirely of glass or glasslike substances. Exhibits of his work--enormous flowers, gaily colored vases, abstract sculptures--have been permanently installed or temporarily exhibited all over the world.
Remember that lobby ceiling at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas, the one that looks like an upside-down garden with over-fertilized blooms? Dale Chihuly did that.
Still, it surprised me as I drove up Interstate Highway 705 and into downtown Tacoma that one overpass would sport two enormous crystal towers, jagged, transparent and as blue as the front of an Alaskan glacier. Chihuly made those, too.
For a newcomer, the towers almost constitute a traffic hazard. They make it hard to shift the eyes back onto the road.
In Tacoma, the art is hard to miss and culture abounds: symphony, theater, opera, higher education, historic landmarks.
I managed to spend a few days here without ever feeling drawn to Seattle and its charms, even though Latte Land (as it's sometimes called) is only 31 miles up the road. Seattle will stay awake for another time. Tacoma commands full attention.  Go here for full story....