Visitors to Oklahoma City have the unique opportunity to view the largest, most comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly works in the world. Chihuly's work is included in 175 museum collections including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art whose commission of the Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Tower in the Museum's 3-story atrium, standing at 55' tall, is the tallest Chihuly work in the world.
The glass tower, which sits in a 14x14 foot black granite reflecting pool, was created as a signature piece for the Atrium of the downtown Oklahoma City museum. The impressive multi-colored tower of 2,200 individually hand-blown glass parts is visible from the landings and staircases joining the art center's three stories. Visitors access the museum's 15 art galleries through the atrium lobby where elevators and a grand staircase connect each floor. Encased in the glass of the three-story atrium, the Tower is also visible from outside the museum, unmistakably declaring the building as a place for art.
To celebrate the opening of the Museum in March 2002, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art featured Dale Chihuly: An Inaugural Exhibition. Guests reveled at the spectacular commissioned work on view in the Museum's Special Exhibitions Gallery. The show was designed by the artist specifically for the Museum, and featured a wide range of his work in glass from single objects to large-scale sculpture and installations. The elaborate, grandly
conceived presentation included eighteen installations representing the major series of Chihuly’s prolific body of work over three decades.
Dale Chihuly is credited with developing glass as an artistic medium in the United States and is considered to be the foremost artist working in glass worldwide. His work is exhibited throughout Europe, Australia and Asia in public buildings, waterways and museums. His major exhibitions include: Chihuly Over Venice (1995-96 and tour), Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000 (1999-2000), Chihuly at the V&A (2001) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and most recently Gardens of Glass: Chihuly at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey, United Kingdom, on display through January 15, 2006.
Following the initial installation and grand opening, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art was granted an option to purchase the entire exhibition. Dale Chihuly: An Inaugural Exhibition received unprecedented attendance, sparking public interest in the arts and the Museum's campaign to purchase the exhibit for $3 million - The Chihuly Project. Donations for the purchase came mostly from local citizens, foundations, and corporations. The reinstallation of the exhibit in April 2004, celebrated the culmination of this Project.
Dale Chihuly: The Exhibition includes 18 groupings of work with more than 1,500 pieces of glass, and installations including: Jerusalem Cylinders, Putti with Birds, Ikebanas, Maccchia Forest, Ikebana Double Ender and Rowboat with Floats, Anemone Confetti Wall, Waterford Crystal Chandelier, Tiger Lillies, Persian Wall, the Oklahoma Persian Ceiling and more. This exhibition, together with the Tower in the atrium, make Oklahoma City home to the largest, most comprehensive collection of Chihuly glass in the world.
Throughout the Museum's 15 galleries,visitors discover displays drawn from a permanent collection of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs and decorative arts. Galleries on the Museum's second floor feature European, Asian and American art created before 1950. The galleries on the third floor exhibit art created after 1950 including abstract art from the 1950s, with paintings and sculpture by artists of several countries.
The full-service restaurant, located on the ground floor of the Museum of Art, offers metropolitan ambiance with fine dining featuring a French-fusion menu prepared fresh daily, ranging from Pepper Seared Tilapia and Grilled Asparagus Panini (a Museum favorite) for lunch to Radiatore Pasta and Veal Chops for dinner to a Sunday Brunch including Quiche Lorraine and Stuffed Blintz. An accommodating staff welcomes special requests and delights in quality service. Patio tables are available for seasonal
dining al fresco along with an array of coffees, teas, espresso, cappuccino, and a full bar.
The Museum’s Noble Theater, built on the same location as the 1947 Centre Theatre, features careful restorations of the building's original box office, exterior poster display cases, lobby configurations, staircases and railings. The Theater features foreign, independent, and classic films which screen Thursdays through Sundays.
The building also features a Museum Store with merchandise unique to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s permanent collection. In addition to the many products located in the special Chihuly section, the Store now offers a custom set of twelve note cards from Dale Chihuly: The Exhibition. Developed by the Museum with Chihuly Studios and Portland Press, this signature set features twelve images hand-selected by Chihuly and his photographers. Also offered are a children's section and other merchandise of posters, books, jewelry and gifts.
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is one of the elite 5% of museums nationwide to achieve accreditation by the prestigious American Association of Museums. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursdays until 9:00 p.m., Sundays Noon to 5:00 p.m. Museum Cafe hours are 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for Sunday Brunch. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, students and children, and children under five are free.