Catalina Island News

Catalina Island Museum To Present Exhibition by Internationally Renowned Artist Dale Chihuly

Catalina Island Museum

The Catalina Island Museum has reached a major milestone this week by announcing it will present an exhibition of works by internationally renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibition, Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum, will open on March 26, 2017 and run through December 11, 2017.

Chihuly, an American sculptor, has mastered the alluring, translucent and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass and neon, to create works of art that transform the viewer experience.  He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific architectural installations in public spaces, and in exhibitions presented in museums and gardens worldwide. The exhibition is a coup for the Catalina Island Museum, which now joins a prestigious list of past exhibitors including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. All have experienced record-breaking crowds. The Denver Botanic Gardens became the most-visited public garden in 2014 when it attracted 1.4 million guests, thanks to its Chihuly exhibition.

The exhibition sets the direction for the new Catalina Island Museum, which now makes its home in the newly constructed 18,000 square-foot Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building. The new museum building with an outdoor atrium, landscaped gardens and views of Catalina’s canyons and clear waters is an ideal setting for Chihuly’s sculptures, many of which reference or are inspired by natural elements.

Since 1953 the Catalina Island Museum has proudly introduced visitors to the extraordinary history of the island. In 2013, it broke ground for a new building designed to facilitate the museum’s expanded mission to exhibit high quality art exhibitions and enhanced programming in the areas of dance, music and film. The new museum building was designed with a nod to the past, including Art Deco flourishes and a façade inspired by the Wrigley Field marquee. (The Chicago Cubs once held spring training sessions in Avalon.)

“Our new building is really a jewel in Avalon,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of the Catalina Island Museum. “So much attention has gone into creating an awe-inspiring environment for our visitors. We wanted our first major exhibition to compliment that vision. Without a doubt, the work of Dale Chihuly will inspire the wow-factor we want our visitors to experience at the museum and take with them when they leave.”

The new Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building will provide an intimate setting for only the second major museum exhibition of Chihuly’s work in southern California. For nearly nine months Catalina Island Museum members, guests and island visitors will be immersed in some of Chihuly’s most iconic works, including Seaforms, Red Reeds, Mille Fiori, Chandeliers, Macchia, Baskets, and the Sea Blue and Green Tower, as well as a breathtaking 18-foot chandelier installation in its soaring lobby. Several of Chihuly’s large-scale installations will be featured throughout the museum in its special exhibitions galleries, atrium, second-level plazas and gazebo. The exterior portion of the exhibition offers two different viewing experiences – during the day when the sculptures’ unique shapes and bold colors glisten in the sun and in the evening when the pieces will be dramatically illuminated.

When talking about his work, Chihuly once stated, “I want people to be overwhelmed by light and color in a way they have never experienced.” To encourage visitors from nearby Los Angeles and beyond to make the most of their stay in Avalon the museum has partnered with the Santa Catalina Island Company, who will be the official Hospitality Partner of the exhibition.

About the Catalina Island Museum
The Catalina Island Museum houses the largest archive of materials related to the culture and history of Santa Catalina Island. Philip K. Wrigley was instrumental in the museum’s establishment in 1953. Preserving the island’s heritage and bringing art and culture to the island also fulfilled the desire of his father, William Wrigley Jr., who wished to provide a "playground" where people from every walk of life could seek edification as well as relaxation on one of America's most beautiful islands. The museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from around the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film.

Dale Chihuly with Isola di San Giacomo in Palude Chandelier, 1996
Chihuly Over Venice
Venice, Italy

Dale Chihuly with Chiostro di Sant’Apollonia Chandelier, 2008
Chihuly at the de Young
de Young Museum, San Francisco, California