Preamble: The Czarina has been a very enthusiastic fan of the glass artist Dale Chihuly for as long as I’ve known her. Me, I’ve been looking for a good excuse to visit the Dallas Arboretum, especially at night, for years. Last Wednesday, we celebrated Independence Day not in the usual manner, but by having a date night at the Arboretum’s Chihuly Nights exhibition. Explanations of what you’re seeing may or may not follow: if you have questions, get out here before November 5 to see it yourself.
I’m the last person who will fuss about visitors arriving at a particular time to see the Chihuly exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum, but I do recommend coming out for the Chihuly Nights shows (currently, running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights) about an hour or two before dark. This way, you get a chance to see the displays and how they interact with the rest of the gardens, before night falls, the lights come on, and the foliage disappears into the black.
At around dusk, visitors start noticing something interesting and a bit disturbing. Contrary to suspicions, the sculptures aren’t lit internally. Instead, they’re illuminated through cunningly hidden spotlights, and the refractive properties of glass do the rest.
When I first started posting these, a few smartaleck friends joked “”Chihuly? I first read that as ‘Cthulhu’. In this grotto, with this lighting on glass this color, I can’t disagree that there’s quite a bit of H.P. Lovecraft in the air on a hot summer Dallas night.