COLUMBUS, Ohio – An entire museum in Seattle is devoted to Washington artist Dale Chihuly, who makes fantastical creations out of glass. But you don’t have to travel to the West Coast to experience the wonder of Chihuly art.
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus is home to one of the largest permanent collections of Chihuly art in the world, with 18 installations spread throughout the space, inside and outside, alongside flowers and cacti, hanging from the ceiling and floating in water.
The park, about 3 miles east of downtown, first showcased Chihuly’s art back in 2003, the second botanical garden in the world to do so, according to Jennifer Wilson, director of marketing and communications for Franklin Park.
The temporary exhibit was so popular – generating record-breaking attendance – that the park formed a nonprofit Friends of the Conservatory group to raise money to buy the art. The works are now part of Franklin Park’s permanent collection, available to view any day the park is open.
Read more: Weekend in Seattle, minus Starbucks and the Space Needle: underground tour, Pike Place Market, Smith Tower and Chihuly
Franklin Park also hosts its popular Chihuly Nights! once a month, with the glassworks illuminated in the evenings.
Even though they’ve been part of the Columbus art scene for nearly two decades, Wilson said the Chihuly works continue to draw large crowds, particularly from out-of-town visitors and group tour sales.
“He draws a lot of inspiration from nature and his work just organically goes hand in hand with our plant collection,” she said.
If you go: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; Chihuly Nights! runs 7-10 p.m. July 9, August 20, September 10 and October 8
How much: $22 ages 13-59, $19 ages 60 and up, $15 ages 3-12
Also here: Topiary Takeover, with 25 animal figures made of living plants, through September 11; Scott’s Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden; the Paul Busse Garden Railway; Dialogos, featuring works by seven local Latinx artists
More information: fpconservatory.org
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