Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Dale Chihuly go way back. Their artistic bromance started 10 years ago, when the garden hosted its first exhibition of the renowned artist's work. His colorful, eclectic glass creations make particularly apt partners for Fairchild's 83-acres of lush, paradisaical plants.
Currently, the garden is hosting its biggest showcase yet, a sprawling tribute to Chihuly's work that's Fairchild's largest outdoor art exhibition ever, as well as the artist's most comprehensive to date.
Chihuly is world-famous for his global installations in cities, museums and gardens. Credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement, he's helped elevate the glass medium to a whole new level. Chihuly’s work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide, including at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
The Fairchild setting is particularly special, and his work is seamlessly interspersed throughout the garden, allowing visitors to experience the works as part of the natural backdrop. it's incorporated into several exhibits, including the Rainforest, the Palm Collection, the Bailey Palm Glade Vista, and the new Wings of the Tropics exhibit.
"Rather than distracting from its natural surroundings, Chihuly’s work integrates itself so wonderfully into the garden," says Chief Operating Officer and Art Curator Nannette Zapata. "Chihuly Studio staff and Fairchild staff worked together to plan each installation site so the exhibition had a lyrical flow. For example, the long, narrow runway at the base of the iconic Bailey Palm Glade opens onto the Sapphire Star, which has incredibly radiant blue glass contrasting the surrounding greenery and the oolitic limestone staircases flanking it. The artwork and plant collections form a synergy and show that art and nature work hand-in-hand to create harmony throughout the landscape design."
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This exhibit, which runs through May 31 and is part of the garden's annual Art at Fairchild program, is Chihuly's most comprehensive to date, says Zapata, as well as Fairchild's largest outdoor art exhibition ever.
"Art is woven throughout all of the tropical plant collections," she explains. "The beautiful Rainforest Fiori look like red and orange glass florets growing out of the ground surrounded by the broadleaf plants collected from the tropical rainforests of the world. The Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower is a tall, stately piece that stands next to the tall, stately palms in the Palmetum. And the Sol del Citron at the end of the Allée and Overlook vista is just like a sun rising above Pandanus and Center Lakes. The bright colors of Chihuly’s work wonderfully complement the bright colors of the tropics."
Catch the stunning collaboration between art and nature before it closes later this month.
The Chihuly exhibit runs through May 31 at Fairchild Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd. General garden admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up, $12 for children 6-17, and free for Fairchild members and children 5 and under. Prices may vary for art-related events.