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Chillin' with Chihuly

August 24, 2010 - Bill Speer

Okay, so remember that trip to Columbus, Ohio in the last blog and the "Welcome to Columbus" greeting card city officials left on my car in the form of a parking ticket?

Right after that incident Diane and I decided to unwind a little by visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory. As frustrated as both of us were over the present that must drive their convention and visitor's bureau crazy, we found the conservatory a great place to unwind, enjoy the beauty and medidate on God's bountiful beauty.

The flowers, plants and trees were outstanding and nicely displayed. The variety the conservatory offered for viewing was exceptional.

Yet much as I enjoyed the natural beauty, it was the man-made beauty that really captured my imagination during the visit. I was exposed to Dale Chihuly's art for the first time at the conservatory, and his glass sculptures and artwork literally left me breathless -they were that exquisite.

Chihuly's color palate seems endless, his imagination must know no boundaries. Not only could he take the most simple of items and turn it into an interesting piece, he also can create huge pieces that extend anyone's imagination to places they've never explored before.

And, the good news is readers can experience some of Chihuly's work and inspiration for themselves in a setting closer to home.

Rather than drive to Columbus and spend part of your money with the city police department there, Northeast Michigan residents instead can head to Grand Rapids, where the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park have extended a Chihuly exhibit until the end of October.

The exhibit , "Chihuly: A New Eden," celebrates the duality of art in nature. It had been scheduled to close Sept. 30 but the response to it over the summer has been strong. Meijer Gardens officials said as of mid-August, more than 200,000 visitors had visited the exhibit in the three months it had been here.


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