Jaw Dropping Art at the Morean Arts Center’s Chihuly Exhibit

For Museums and Libraries as Cultural Heritage Institutions I have to visit three museums or cultural heritage institutions.  For Art or Science museum I went to the Morean Arts Center’s Chihuly Exhibit in Downton St. Petersburg.

Location

The Chihuly Collection and Exhibit is part of the Morean Arts Center and is located in Downtown St. Petersburg on Beach Drive facing the water.  The exhibit is just one of four locations owned and operated by the MAC in Downtown St. Pete.  A related location is the Morean Glass Studio and Hot Shop located on Central Avenue.  The Chihuly Exhibit, which is a permanent collection, is located on the near the Museum of Fine Arts, The Vinoy, The Dali Museum, and numerous other downtown attractions.  It is also connected to the other Morean facilities by the trolley system available downtown.

Website

Moreanartscenter.org

The website has a navigation bar on the left hand side that will take visitor to various informational links.  The links take you to pages for the Morean Galleries, the Chihuly Collection, Glass Studio and Hot Shop, the Center for Clay, classes and education, how to buy tickets, make a donation, become a member, events, contests, artist opportunities, job opportunities, group tours, group tours, facility rentals, volunteer oppurtunities, support and giving, media, and a link back to the home page.  The links for the various exhibits and collections will take you to subpages on information for each exhibit.

Partnerships

I did not find any formal partnerships listed on their website other than their sponsors: Bank of America, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, Culture Builds Florida, Raymond James, Tampa Bay Times, and the City of St. Petersburg.  However, the Center has outreach programs, mainly KidVentures and Word and Image.  These programs touch many young people, including at risk youth in the community.

Accreditation Status

I searched the site extensively, but found no evidence of any kind of Accreditation Status.  I called the center and was informed that they are not accredited with any museum organization.  This is most likely because they are an arts center and gallery.

Publications

No official ones that I could find. I found one two sided pamphlet,one side of which told about the collection, and the other  where each location in the Morean Arts Center was.

Adult Life Long Learning

Classes can be found on the following webpage: http://www.moreanartscenter.org/content.php?id=43

The Morean Arts Center offer classes in the following areas: clay, drawing, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, metal sculpture, mixed media, painting, photo/digital, and printmaking.  They also have youth, teen, and family classes as well as workshops.  These classes further their mission to bring art to the community.

Connection with Libraries

I found no connections with any libraries.  They may have a library of informational items for their classes, but I was unable to determine this.

Cultural Heritage

The mission of the Morean Arts Center is to connect people with art.  They aim to do this through innovative, community-oriented art and through art education.  They aim to bring out the artist inside everyone. By bringing locally, regionally, and nationally created art to the Tampa Bay area they promote cultural heritage through art.  The classes they offer also help promote the mission of bringing art to the people.  As Anderson says in the Framework in Reinventing the Museum, “All aspects of museum operations support each other and contribute to the advancement of the mission.”

Reactions and Observations

The Chihuly Collection is separate from the main gallery and features several pieces and large installations by Dale Chihuly and his team.  The collection is small, by jaw droopingly amazing.  A friend and fellow librarian who accompanied me said it was “brief, but mind blowing.”  The colors and scale of the items were just aweing.  How they assemble those large chandeliers and get them to look just like they did in the shop during design takes a skill and planning I can’t even imagine.  And it all looks like one big piece in the end.  The skill and craftsmanship is just awe inspiring.

My favorite piece was the Azul de Medianoche (Blue Midngight) chandelier.  A suspended blue glass piece made up of hundreds of smaller twisted glass tubes that all fit together just so.  The Parisan Sunset Wall was also very beautiful and definitely evoked a sunset.  At almost every piece I stepped back and went “Wow, that’s amazing!”, or “Wow, that’s beautiful!”.  I think I walked around with my mouth hanging open the whole time.  From the small, detailed vases to the giant marbles that made us afraid each one was about to fall out of that row boat and start a chain reaction to the flowers that looked like they were from an alien world, every piece made you appreciate the beauty, skill, and craftsmanship in the work.  I would definitely take visiting family to this if they had never seen Chihuly’s work.

There was also an educational video playing that talked about how Chihuly got started, the various installations around the world, the techniques used, and how he came up with some of the pieces.  It was quite long and we did not stay to finish it due to the fact that the parking meter had a two hour limit.  I believe we were there for about an hour and a half and we had not reached the end of the video, nor had we come in at the start of it.  However, it was quite educational and a great companion to the exhibit, especially since it showed pieces being made.  While you can go to the Hot Shop and studio on Central, that is an extra entrance fee, so getting to see it done in a video is a bonus, if not ideal.  This too wowed me and caused my draw to yet again drop.

Also featured, were several of his paintings.  I was not impressed with them, and neither was my friend.  They looked like a kid did them and that they were just paintings of his sculptures, and bad ones at that.  And after watching the video which showed him just slapping and pouring paint on the canvas I know why they looked the way they did.  I don’t know if they were supposed to be abstract or not, but it’s possible.  The sculptures themselves were far better than any painting there that looked like it depicted a sculpture.  That’s just an observation though.

All in all, it was a wonderful exhibit and I am glad I went.

References

Anderson, G. (2012). Reinventing the Museum: The evolving conversation on the paradigm shift. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.

moreanarscenter.org

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3 thoughts on “Jaw Dropping Art at the Morean Arts Center’s Chihuly Exhibit

  1. Mina, I still remember visiting the Chihuly collection before I moved from Tampa. I loved it! When I was in Seattle last year, I learned that a Chihuly museum was opening up almost right at the base of the Space Needle. And Murphy’s Law, it was opening the day after I was scheduled to set sail on cruise ship heading for Alaska. Aarrgh! I still got to see some of the outdoor glass pieces looking through and over the fence! They were an awesome site to behold!

  2. PS I took the class you are taking now last summer. The Seattle Art Museum was one of the museums I visited and wrote about. I absolutely LOVED the class!

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