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Chihuly – Prepare to be Blown Away

If you’ve ever seen any of Dale Chihuly’s unique contemporary glass art, it’s an unforgettable, breathtaking experience. If you’re not familiar with this artist or his art, then prepare to be blown away by the amazing work of Chihuly: Borgata Hotel Spa & Casino features a collection of blown glass “fixtures” that have decorated the Borgata since 2003.

Notice the exquisite chandelier in the main lobby of the hotel and the colorful columns adorning the casino entrance. Can you find more? Contemporary artist Dale Chihuly (1941- ) is to hand blown glass and glass making as Louis Comfort Tiffany (1878-1933) is to favrile glass and stained glass (think windows and lamps) that were so popular during the turn of the century.

Both artists began their early careers in interior design, became enamored with glass and glassmaking, and traveled to Europe to admire and study museum-quality glass collections. Afterwards, each visionary opened a glassmaking studio; their creative glassmaking processes resulted in fame and fortune for each.

Another Tiffany-Chihuly connection: while pursuing a second post graduate degree, Chihuly was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant for work in glass. The money enabled him to travel to Europe. While there, Chihuly was introduced to the team approach to glassmaking, and he became the first American glassblower to work for the prestigious Venini glass factory in Murano.

Under Chihuly’s creative guidance, hand glassmaking – once considered a lowly craft art or decorative art, was raised to a new level, and he created a market for the pieces of “fine” art among aficionados, collectors and investors.

After two unfortunate accidents in three years, by 1979 Chihuly was physically unable to blow glass, but his passion for his art never wavered. Much like a film director or symphony conductor, Chihuly continues to this day to envision the project, provide guidance and energy throughout the creative process and encourage his team members to apply their artistry, technical skills and experience to produce the always amazing works of art.

More than 200 museums around the world include collections of his spectacular work, and Chihuly, the icon of free blown functional and sculptural glass, has public installations of his work in 14 countries and 38 states. He was one of only two American artists ever honored with a solo show at The Louvre. Where in Atlantic City can you spot some masterpieces by Chihuly? Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, of course.

Chihuly created more than a dozen series of contemporary glass art, each one showcasing a new method, form or color of blown glass. Some of those include Cylinders and Baskets, Chandeliers and Seaforms, Venetians and Persians, Macchia and Fiori. How many varieties will you find when you visit the Borgata in Atlantic City?