Chihuly glass attracts record numbers to Denver Botanic Gardens

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(Photo: CPR/Chloe Veltman)
<p>Polyvitro Crystal Tower and Blue Crystals by Dale Chihuly, on display at the Denver Botanic Gardens through November 30.</p>

The Denver Botanic Gardens has set a new attendance record thanks to the Rocky Mountain Region's first major outdoor exhibition of work by glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Officials report that more than 130,000 people visited the Gardens during the exhibition’s first month after it opened on June 14.

“This summer’s attendance is phenomenal, and the best news is that many people are first-time visitors,” Denver Botanic Gardens CEO Brian Vogt says.

Visitors have come from across Colorado, as well as neighboring states and other areas of the country to see work by the Seattle-based Chihuly, one of the best known artists in glass sculpting.

The exhibition took more than three years to plan.

“We were prepared for a big attendance spike,” Botanic Gardens communications manager Erin Bird says. The Botanic Gardens staff reached out to other similar institutions that have hosted Chihuly’s work in the past for guidance on how to handle the crowds.

The Gardens also increased the number of its security personnel since opening the exhibition, which runs through November 30.

On this week’s Colorado Art Report, we’ll revisit a story by CPR arts reporter Corey H. Jones that explores how thousands of glass pieces survive the more than 1,300-mile trek from a shipping facility in Tacoma, Wash., to Denver.

To hear more, tune in to the Art Report at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 1.