Monday, July 31, 2006

the floats are here to stay

Here is the official press release announcing that Dale Chihuly has gifted the Nijima floats that are currently on view to Tacoma Art Museum.




1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402



July 31, 2006

Media Contact: Alyssa Rosso, Public Relations Coordinator, 253.272.4258 x3002,


Dale Chihuly Gifts Ma Chihuly’s Floats to Tacoma Art Museum


(Tacoma, WA) – Tacoma Art Museum has added Ma Chihuly’s Floats to the museum’s permanent collection. Dale Chihuly’s gift is the newest work to be added to the museum’s premier collection of Chihuly glass art.


The floats were originally installed on January 4, 2006. Soon after, Chihuly dedicated the work to his mother, Viola, who had recently passed. Ma Chihuly’s Floats features thirty-nine of his Niijima floats resting on Richard Rhodes’ Untitled – the stone wavelike sculpture in the museum’s inner courtyard.


“We’re honored that Dale has chosen to give these beautiful floats to the museum in memory of his mother,” said Director Stephanie Stebich. “From the day they were installed, they’ve enthralled our visitors. This gift significantly strengthens our collection of Dale’s work.” 


As a native of Tacoma, Chihuly generously supports the arts in the region. In 1990 Chihuly presented the museum with a gift of more than thirty sculptures and drawings in honor of his father and brother. He added several more pieces in 2003 in conjunction with the new building’s opening. Today, Tacoma Art Museum features them as the premier collection of Chihuly glass on long-term public display. The collection dates back to 1977 and features examples from many of the artist’s major series including Baskets, Sea Forms, Cylinders, Macchia, Persians, and Venetians.


“I am pleased to be able to gift Ma Chihuly’s Floats to the Tacoma Art Museum in honor of my mother, Viola,” said Chihuly. “She would have really liked this installation and I’m glad that it will now join the collections at the museum that honor both my father and brother here in my hometown.”      


Chihuly was inspired to create the Niijima floats after visiting friends in Niijima, an island in Tokyo Bay. These floats are reminiscent of traditional Japanese fishing floats and are among the largest free-blown forms ever created. He began the series in 1991, experimenting by using glass made from Niijima’s beach sand.


Tacoma Art Museum’s mission is to connect people through art. The museum serves the diverse communities of the region through its collection, exhibitions, and learning programs, emphasizing art and artists from the Northwest. The museum’s five galleries display an array of top national shows, the best of Northwest art, creatively themed exhibitions, and historical retrospectives. In addition, there is an Education Wing for children, adults, and seniors with an art resource center, classroom, and studio for art making. Tacoma Art Museum is located near the Museum of Glass, the Washington State History Museum, and historic Union Station.





Heide Fernandez-Llamazares

Assistant Museum Educator and Docent Coordinator



1701 Pacific Avenue

Tacoma, Washington 98402

T: 253.272.4258 x3018

F: 253.627.1898

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