Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for over a decade.
In 1968, Dale Chihuly was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work at the Venini factory in Venice, Italy. While in Venice, Chihuly observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today.
In 1971 Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a studio art.
His work is included in over two hundred museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including seven honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chihuly has created many well-known series of works, among them the Baskets, Persians, and Seaforms, but he is also celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1995 he embarked on the multi-faceted international project, “Chihuly over Venice,” which involved working in glass factories in Finland, Ireland and Mexico, with the resultant sculptures installed over the canals and piazze of Venice.
In 1999, Chihuly mounted his most ambitious installation to date, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than one million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations.
In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London curated the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, was dedicated in 2002.
Chihuly’s lifelong affinity for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. His garden exhibition was first presented in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.
In 2005, Chihuly exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, and at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida in both 2006 and 2007. An exhibition at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania opened in May, 2007.