5:00am

Tue June 24, 2014
Arts & Life

Chihuly Draws Record Crowds To Denver Botanic Gardens

A towering pile of giant glass icicles greets visitors to Denver Botanic Gardens. It's part of the Chihuly exhibition, an installation of glass-and-steel sculptures that spring up like alien flowers among the garden's 24 acres.

This is the first major outdoor exhibition in the Rocky Mountain Region by Washington artist Dale Chihuly, the sculptor behind the creations. It includes 12 outdoor sculptures, including a towering fountain that lights up at night, and two pieces indoors. The sculptures, made of blown glass in strong colors, sometimes echo, sometimes contrast with garden features.

The intricate forms came in a passel of semi-trucks, and took a team of Chihuly technicians 11 days to install, said Erin Bird, communications manager for the garden.

On Sunday, the Botanic Gardens' parking lots were full and cars jostled for parking along residential side streets. Bird did not yet have attendance information for the weekend of June 21-22, but for opening weekend, June 14-15, the garden had more than 11,000 visitors.

"This is definitely, as far as opening weekend, the largest that we have ever had," Bird said.

The exhibit is open in the garden through Nov. 30. Entrance comes with the price of admission to the Denver Botanic Gardens. Be sure to click on the slideshow above to see more of the sculptures.

Editor's Note: Full disclosure, the Chihuly exhibition by way of Visit Denver is an underwriter of KUNC programming.