Denver Botanic Gardens to add Chihuly sculpture to permanent collection

Photo: Chihuly 'Colorado' for Botanic Gardens
A rendering of glass artist Dale Chihuly's "Colorado," which will be added to the Denver Botanic Garden's permanent collection.

The Denver Botanic Gardens is acquiring a new, large-scale work of art by glass artist Dale Chihuly, Botanic Gardens officials announced Saturday.

The artwork, entitled “Colorado,” will be located in the Ellipse Garden outside the historic Waring House. Crews will install the piece, which is currently in the process of being constructed, in December, following the closing of the Botanic Gardens' major Chihuly exhibition.

Comprised of approximately 700 spindly, hand-blown glass pieces and towering more than 11 feet tall, “Colorado” is part of Chihuly’s “Icicle Tower” series, a collection of spiky glass sculptures.

Other sculptures in the series can be seen at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and at the Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth, Washington.

Donors Robert and Judi Newman together with the RC Kemper Charitable Trust and Foundation, an arts- and education-focused grant-making organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, donated the glass sculpture to the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Botanic Gardens officials would not release information about the cost of the sculpture.

The “Chihuly” exhibition, which opened June 14 and runs through Nov. 30, was the Rocky Mountain region’s first-ever major outdoor display of the popular glass artist’s work. It set a new attendance record for the Botanic Gardens.

“We will never forget this extraordinary year and the outpouring of enthusiasm for the combination of Chihuly and the Gardens,” Denver Botanic Gardens CEO Brian Vogt says. “Now, we will have the opportunity to relive this unique and dynamic fusion long into the future.”

Chihuly says he plans to incorporate bright red, orange and yellow pieces into the sculpture to represent the sunsets he experienced during his visits to Denver. The artist also aims to design “Colorado” to withstand the state’s extreme outdoor weather.

“I am so pleased that a significant work of art will be added to Denver Botanic Gardens’ permanent collection,” Chihuly says. “It is such a beautiful garden and great city.”