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 more than a decade. In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates.
The Chihuly Sanctuary is made possible with a gift from Suzanne and Walter Scott and will be a cornerstone of the Healing Arts Program. When complete it will have five distinct spaces, each with artwork created specifically for that space.
Chihuly Sanctuary Facts
- The cornerstone of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center Healing Arts Program
- A place of respite and reflection for patients, families and staff
- A stress-reducing environment
- Improves sense of well-being
Chihuly and his team have worked closely with the UNMC and Nebraska Medicine teams to create a space where patients, researchers and caregivers can meditate and find a moment of peace.
The central cone-like structure that is the featured architectural element of the Chihuly Sanctuary was inspired by old UK red house glass cone hotshops which were used for glassmaking dating back to the late 17th century. Intended to provide comfort, peace and meditation, natural light will pass through the glass and cast shadows that will shift and change throughout the day.
The organic shape and wave-like design of the Chihuly Sanctuary was inspired by the artist’s iconic Macchia series which sets itself apart from the surrounding architecture.
Chihuly selected two of his favorite colors to accent the exterior of the Chihuly Sanctuary. The roof line has been defined in a bright chartreuse color inspired by the lipwraps from his Macchia series, while the exterior color of the cone of the Chihuly Sanctuary will welcome patients, researchers and caregivers in a warm yellow tone.
The defining colors of the Chihuly Sanctuary will be easily seen from many vantage points on the campus of the cancer center, signifying to everyone that the space is something truly unique and special – a place where art and healing have come together to help make a difference in the lives of patients, researchers and caregivers.
"I really wanted to create a space for people to meditate and find a moment of peace," said Chihuly, who hopes the artwork is a welcome addition to the cancer center and to the city.