ST. PETERSBURG — The Chihuly Collection will reopen in its new location at 720 Central Ave. on Oct. 15, said executive director Andy Schlauch, after the galleries on Beach Drive closed Sunday.
The collection of spectacular vessels and sculptures by Dale Chihuly, the most famous glass artist in the world, will now occupy 11,000 square feet of indoor space, plus 4,000 square feet of outdoor space for parties and events such as weddings. Next door will be a Publix supermarket and above will be three parking decks.
A team from Seattle, where Chihuly's studio is located, is dismantling and packing the vessels and sculptures. The process includes taking apart hundreds of vibrantly colored glass pieces that make up the large, intricate sculptures and will take about two weeks.
The grand reopening will begin at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 15 with an all-day block party. There will be free events but admission to the collection will require a ticket. A ticketed evening party will be held on Oct. 14. For information go to moreanartscenter.org or call (727) 822-7872.
The original space, which opened at 400 Beach Drive in 2010 with 9,800 square feet, had high visibility but it lacked space for special events. Visitor parking was often a challenge along the bustling downtown waterfront, Schlauch said, "especially for the tour buses." At the Central Avenue address, parking won't be an issue and it will sit across the street from the Morean Arts Center, which owns the collection and has a glass-blowing hot shop for demonstrations and classes. Additional gallery space will allow for larger special exhibitions by other glass artists.
The Morean Arts Center is a not-for-profit organization that offers classes and art exhibitions. It also owns the Center for Clay which houses its ceramics classrooms and studios. Profits from the Chihuly Collection help fund the Morean's community programming.
Contact Lennie Bennett at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.