In 2002, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art inaugurated the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center with an exhibition of glass and drawings by Dale Chihuly, titled Dale Chihuly: An Inaugural Exhibition (March 16–August 4, 2002). Bolstered by enormous public support, the Museum purchased the exhibition in June of 2004, which included works from Chihuly’s best-known series, in addition to drawings, and was anchored by the 55-foot Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower in the Museum’s atrium. Since, the collection has grown to include gifts to the Museum by the artist. Today, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Chihuly glass in the world.
Dale Chihuly’s well-grounded academic and practical background includes a B.A. in interior design from the University of Washington, a M.S. in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.F.A. in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, and honorary doctorates from the University of Puget Sound and the Rhode Island School of Design. He also was awarded a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant for work in glass and studied at Italy’s prestigious Venini glass factory on a Fulbright Fellowship.
Chihuly’s work is included in over 200 museum collections, including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and he has received world renown for his extensive glass series, international projects, and large architectural installations such as the Museum’s Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower. The Museum’s collection represents over three decades of Chihuly’s finest work and heralds this brilliant luminist as the most important artist working in glass since Louis Comfort Tiffany.