Though many cities have something that makes them stand apart, few are as interesting as Tacoma’s glass blowing art scene. It’s both a piece of the city’s past and is now part of modern-day life. Glass blowing is a meticulous and somewhat dangerous artform that requires years of practice, careful attention to detail, and a steady hand. If you’re interested in visiting the best parts of the local art scene during your next nursing assignment to Tacoma, WA, the city’s glassblowing studios are must-see stops for your list.
Traveling nurses have the unique opportunity to experience the local lifestyles of many different communities throughout the country. Some traveling nurses spend their free time during assignments browsing for potential places to settle down while others simply enjoy the plethora of opportunities to explore and experience new things. Whatever your case may be, Tacoma is a fantastic hotspot for glassblowing art and many other art forms.
Where to Find Glassblowing Art in Tacoma
Tacoma has deep industrial roots, so it’s only natural for the city’s art form of choice to be an industrial one. Glassblowing requires a specialized hot furnace and tools you’d expect to see on a blacksmith’s workbench. If you’re visiting or moving to Tacoma, you can visit some of the places where glass art is made and find it in several installations and public displays throughout the city.
The Tacoma Art Museum has steadily grown its collection of world-class studio glass art. The Museum District of Tacoma includes six different museums with everything from glassblowing sculptures to antique automobiles and historical maritime pieces.
The Tacoma Art Museum connects to the Tacoma Museum of Glass with the Dale Chihuly Bridge of Glass, an amazing structure showcasing more than 2,000 works of glass art. The glass sculptures on the bridge filter sunlight throughout the day, showering the area with thousands of spots of color. At night, artistic lighting makes the Bridge of Glass a romantic hotspot in Tacoma.
The city has deep ties to the glassblowing art scene thanks to Dale Chihuly, a local celebrity known for his glass blown art. He has more than 40 years of creating amazing glass artwork and various installations throughout Tacoma. You can also find amazing glass art hidden in plain sight throughout Tacoma at several locations, including:
- The federal courthouse at Union Station. You’ll find five unique Dale Chihuly installations inside.
- The Blue Mouse Theatre in the Proctor District, which has a vintage movie marquee made with neon glass, one of Dale Chihuly’s first neon glass pieces.
- The Snoqualmie Library at the University of Washington Tacoma, which houses the 1,500-pound Chinook Red Chandelier in the study room.
- The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, which has the honor of being the only bar in the world with an original Dale Chihuly piece on display.
These are just a few places to find amazing glass artwork in Tacoma. If you’re interested in learning more about Dale or want to try glassblowing for yourself, you can experience one of the most important parts of Tacoma’s local culture.
Try Glassblowing Yourself in Tacoma
To try your hand at glassblowing or learn from local masters, two of the best places to visit in Tacoma are the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio and Area 253 Glassblowing. At the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, visitors have the chance to make their own blown glass memento, and Area 253 Glassblowing is an authentic, no-frills hot shop that introduces visitors to various classes, so there is something for everyone of all skill and creativity levels.
Part of the reason why glassblowing is so important to the culture of Tacoma is Dale Chihuly’s influence; his work helped to accentuate some of the most significant places throughout the city, exposing the local community to an amazing artform and cultivating a love of unique industrial art. If your next assignment takes you to the Tacoma area or you plan to visit there in the future, be sure to take time to see some of Chihuly’s work in person and maybe you can create your own glass masterpiece to take home with you!