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Atlanta Botanical Garden acquires Chihuly sculpture permanently

The Atlanta Botanical Garden set attendance records during the 2016 exhibit of glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly called “Chihuly in the Garden.”

 One of those sculptures, a 30-foot high stack of intertwined yellow glass tendrils called “Saffron Tower,” stayed behind after the exhibit moved on.

On loan to the garden since that time, it has now become a permanent part of the garden’s art collection.

Workers installed Dale Chihuly's "Saffron Tower" in the Storza Woods during the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 2016 exhibit of the artist’s works. TAYLOR CARPENTER / TAYLOR.CARPENTER@AJC.COM

The sculpture was acquired with the support of the city of Atlanta and gifts from the Molly Blank Fund, the Imlay Foundation, the Forward Arts Foundation, the Brown Foundation Inc. and individual donations.

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In 2004 the garden’s first exhibit of Chihuly’s work doubled its annual attendance, and the 2016 exhibit also drew record crowds.

Chihuly's glass sculpture, "Saffron Tower," is composed of 312 hand-formed neon tubes. CONTRIBUTED: ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN

Other works by Chihuly that have become part of the garden’s permanent collection include a blue and white sculpture in the Levy Parterre fountain and the “Nepenthes Chandelier.”

“We are thrilled to announce this beautiful piece of art will join other sculptures by Dale Chihuly in the Garden as a legacy to his wonderful exhibitions presented here,” said Mary Pat Matheson, the Garden’s president and CEO, in a statement.

The Chihuly work will complement one of the Botanical Garden’s  most popular yearly events, “Garden Nights, Holiday Lights,” the garden’s Christmas-season light show that runs through Jan. 6.

Cold weather slows down the plant life at the garden, but these winter-time attractions keep the visitors coming.

Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights.” CONTRIBUTED: ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN

This year daytime visitors to the garden will also see another new addition to the garden’s artwork, an installation from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, whose “Infinity Mirrors” show at the nearby High Museum of Art has also drawn record audiences.

The Kusama installation, on loan to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, is called “Narcissus Garden.” It consists of 1,400 highly-polished stainless steel spheres that spill over the ground in a section of the Storza Woods.

"Narcissus Garden," by Yayoi Kusama, is on loan to the Atlanta Botanical Garden and is installed temporarily in the Storza Woods section of the garden. CONTRIBUTED: ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN

The spheres, each about 12 inches in diameter, mirror the changing leaves of the woods around them. The installation was originally created by Kusama in 1966, when she first presented it at the Venice Biennale.

“Garden Nights, Holiday Lights,” runs 5-11 p.m., Nov. 17 – Jan. 6. Tickets range from $14.95 to $39.95, and are available at the Botanical Garden ticket booth, or online at atlantabg.org, or by phone at 404-585-2060.

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