Chasing Chihuly

Macchia, 1996

Drive by Gonzaga University in downtown Spokane on Sharp Street, and you’ll see the classic stone gateway of a college campus. It’s boring, dull, unprepossessing. Head south from that entrance, though, into the school’s ‘back yard’, and you get a whole different view. Why doesn’t everyone go to this place, for the sheer beauty of its campus? A tree-lined river walk?  Buildings put up with obvious care and attention to both form and function? Yikes: GU has all this in spades.

On one corner of this sprawling campus, the Jundt Art Center occupies its own piece of turf: stately brick exterior, muted glass, appropriate shrubbery. Round back, though, there’s an outdoor kiln, a sure sign that something’s afoot. And inside? Displays of campus artists as well as others, like Dale Chihuly.

Gold over Madder Venetian #70, 1989

It’s likely that any institution of size in the Pacific Northwest has something of Chihuly’s, and GU is no exception. But despite the fact that you can see his work in lots of places, it still amazes and delights. The color, the scope, the movement of his glass: extraordinary. So, how great to find an installation in Spokane, to wander in a perfectly appointed room and enjoy the view of built space, as well as created.

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