St. Pete’s Chihuly Collection stages ‘Family Day’ and ‘Paradise Cities’ show starting this weekend

You know, if you trust your kids around glass.

click to enlarge Morean Family Day is Saturday, April 6, 2024, at the Chihuly Collection’s Garden in St. Petersburg, Florida. - Photo c/o Morean Arts Center
Photo c/o Morean Arts Center
Morean Family Day is Saturday, April 6, 2024, at the Chihuly Collection’s Garden in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Living in the Tampa Bay area, it’s easy to take downtown St. Petersburg’s Chihuly Collection for granted, but there are a couple of reasons to visit this weekend.

First, Morean Family Day is Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Chihuly Collection’s Garden next to BayFirst Financial. The free event includes multiple art projects for kids, including cloud slime creation and coloring pages.

Adults—or parents who’ll never take their kids to a glass museum—might be most interested in the Chihuly-Inspired Macchia Bowl project.
Event Details

Free Family Day

Sat., April 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Chihuly Collection 720 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg St. Pete

To truly appreciate the Macchia Bowl project, some background is in order, and it can be found at the Chihuly Collection next door.

Go behind the curtain for a short documentary introducing Dale Chihuly’s work and inspirations. This is where you’ll learn about Chihuly’s well-known Macchia series, a collection of glass bowls inspired by color itself. Chihuly challenged himself to create unique combinations from all 300 available colors in this series (“macchia” roughly translates to “spotted” in Italian). The colorful bowls with ruffled lips look like large open flowers, especially in a garden.

Afterward, cross Central Avenue and head to the Morean Glass Studio for a complimentary glass demonstration, included in the cost of Chihuly Collection admission. Watch local glass blowers roll molten glass through piles of colored glass chips, as Chihuly, an American artist, would’ve done when making his Macchia.

Chihuly's love of color and largeness has created a challenge for Amanda Cooper, who started curating special exhibitions at the Chihuly in 2021.

“It's hard to compete with Dale's work—it's so big and saturated!” Cooper told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Often, when curating the Chihuly Collection’s special exhibitions space, Cooper intentionally looks for the largest and most colorful artwork she can find.
Event Details

Paradise City Special Exhibition at the Chihuly Collection

Through June 15

Chihuly Collection 720 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg St. Pete

This spring, Cooper shows work by Tampa Bay-based glass blower Benjamin Elliot alongside paintings by Sue Graef, also local, in “Paradise Cities,” the second reason to visit the Chihuly Collection this Spring.

“Paradise Cities” came together after Graef submitted to Fresh Squeezed, and Cooper realized how well her large, colorful cityscapes would pair with Chihuli’s work. Cooper also saw a connection between Graef’s cityscapes and Chihuli’s love of architecture.
Seeking glassware to pair with Graef’s cityscapes, Cooper consulted with Michelle Klettke, a glass studio retail sales associate. Together, they realized that when you place Elliot’s colorful vessels in a row, they almost mirror the skylines in Graef’s cityscapes.

Graef’s colorful paintings of Tampa’s skyline and the way to St. Armands bring a world of color to our local landscape that is fun to see alongside Elliot’s and Chihuly's colorful glasswork.

Chihuly admission is not waived on the day of the event, so plan that into your budget if you want to see the exhibitions too, although student and children’s admission is discounted, as usual.

While Morean Family Day is a one-day event, you have until June 27 to see “Paradise Cities.” So, if you’re worried about your kids running through a room full of expensive glass art, there’s time to revisit at a later date without them.

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Jennifer Ring

Jen began her storytelling journey in 2017, writing and taking photographs for Creative Loafing Tampa. Since then, she’s told the story of art in Tampa Bay through more than 200 art reviews, artist profiles, and art features. She believes that everyone can and should make art, whether they’re good at it or not...
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