Seattle Center Welcomes Chihuly Garden and Glass

Seattle Center is delighted to welcome a new resident organization to its 74-acre grounds. Chihuly Garden and Glass opens next Monday, May 21. The exhibition’s stunning indoor pavilion and outdoor garden art space are expected to serve as a major visitor attraction, event destination and revenue generator for the City of Seattle and surrounding businesses. 

Visitors to Seattle Center will notice how Chihuly Garden and Glass has greened the Seattle Center grounds. Lush gardens and glass sculptures have replaced the old asphalt of the former Fun Forest area. A partial green roof now tops the main exhibit building, formerly the Fun Forest Pavilion. Behind the pavilion, new landscaping, building color and permeable hardscape around the Mural Amphitheatre stage create a far more functional and pleasant area for the numerous free outdoor concerts, movies and summer events.

The project enriches programming at Seattle Center through its collaboration with Seattle Public Schools, fully funding an arts and sciences curriculum for each 8th grade student. Center Art, LLC, the owner of Chihuly Garden and Glass, will provide 10,000 free tickets each year to those who otherwise would not be able to experience the exhibition, and it will contribute $2 million toward development and maintenance of a children’s play area in Next 50 Plaza called Artists at Play. Additional program partnerships between Seattle Center and Center Art will be announced in the coming months.

Center Art proposed an exhibition of works by artist Dale Chihuly in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop the former Fun Forest site south of the monorail station following the departure of the concessionaire at the end of 2010. A panel of citizens involved in the drafting of the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, who reviewed nine RFP submissions, recommended the Chihuly Garden and Glass project as the optimal choice based on selection criteria tied to the Master Plan and Seattle Center vision. On April 25, 2011, Seattle City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement between Seattle Center and Center Art, allowing for redevelopment of the site.

“50 years ago a group of visionaries brought our community a civic center disguised as a world’s fair.  Today another generation of visionaries is giving our community a gift that will delight and inspire people for years to come.  I applaud the Wright family and Dale and Leslie Chihuly for this spectacular addition to Seattle Center,” said Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams.

The Wright family has a long and distinguished history of supporting civic efforts. Their partnership with renowned northwest artist Dale Chihuly has produced a remarkable outcome, a visually brilliant destination expressing the creative inspiration of the Pacific Northwest and a world-class visual arts venue that will attract visitors from across the globe.  For more information on Chihuly Garden and Glass and Seattle Center, visit www.seattlecenter.com.