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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Strike Back Against the Chihuly Glasstroturf Campaign

Posted by on Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Originally posted yesterday afternoon, and moved up.

The business interests and PR firms pushing for a Chilhuly glass museum at the Seattle Center—a private venture on public land—are working hard to make it appear that a vast number of Seattle residents support the project. Last night, they stacked a meeting with hundreds of supporters, many of whom turned out to be paid by the family that operates the Space Needle, which is behind the effort. Meanwhile, their museum's Facebook page promised $25 gift certificates for the Space Needle restaurant to people who joined the group (because it's totally worth supporting a multi-million dollar vanity project in exchange for a crab cake). Museum cheerleaders are using that membership to wage a purportedly grassroots campaign, creating an email widget that allows their troops to bombard the city council with letters of support. But this isn't a movement of the people. This is an astroturf campaign run by big business—or, as Eli just coined it, glasstroturf.

They're even trying to make it look like a done deal. The Space Needle website claims that "construction is expected to begin near the end of this year and the plan is for completion by mid-2011."

But this isn't a done deal. Seattle residents oppose this project. We invested years of input to develop a Seattle Center Master Plan that used this area for lawns, open space, and public use. Before the glasstroturf campaign was in full swing, city council members had heard from 300 people, almost exclusively opposed to the museum. And our legally binding, chocolate-flavored Slog poll found that only 10 percent supported this glass house. Don't let the glasstroturf campaign win. Mayor Mike McGinn said last week that the city is "not going to do something the public doesn’t like.”

Call and email everyone on the city council, the director of Seattle Center, and the mayor to tell them you oppose this project. You can email all of them in one swoop by clicking HERE. And here are their individual email addresses and phone numbers.

Email the mayor, the head of the Seattle Center, and the entire city council by clicking HERE. And call them individually:

Mayor Mike McGinn
Phone: (206) 684-4000

Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams
(206) 684-7330

Richard Conlin, Council President
Phone: (206) 684-8805

Sally Bagshaw
Phone: (206) 684-8801

Tim Burgess
Phone: (206) 684-8806

Sally J. Clark
Phone: (206) 684-8802

Jean Godden
Phone: (206) 684-8807

Bruce Harrell
Phone: (206) 684-8804

Nick Licata
Phone: (206) 684-8803

Mike O'Brien
Phone: (206) 684-8800

Tom Rasmussen
Phone: (206) 684-8808

And as a reward, please go out and buy yourself a double-scoop ice cream cone.


Comments (94) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
with sprinkles?
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 31, 2010 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 2
Moral of the story: if you are a Seattle company or artist NEVER make it big. If you do the Stranger will be bitter and angry then try to tarnish you. (see Chihuly, Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon etc.)
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 31, 2010 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Uh, come one, there's no way this isn't a done deal. I'm emailing and calling, but I assume they're bein deleted immediately.
Posted by Ulua on March 31, 2010 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Fnarf 4
@2, Chihuly's not that big. He's just good at PR. Among Seattle-area artists, he's maybe #1 in sales, but not in the top 100 in impact or reviews. No one in the art world cares a whit about him. He's more like the of art -- a con artist -- not the Microsoft or Amazon.
Posted by Fnarf on March 31, 2010 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Simone 5
Don't bother showcasing other talented glass artists at this proposed museum. This museum is all about Chihuly and his art/ego only.
Posted by Simone on March 31, 2010 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 6
@2 the moral of the story is do what the majority of your populace wants with your public resources or GTFO.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 31, 2010 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
@6 ftw. Remember, 10 phone calls or 20 emails on an issue to a councilmember is a firestorm.

Don't just say you'll do it - do it. It doesn't have to be long, short and sweet works really well too.

They work for us - not the other way around.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 31, 2010 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 8
Now if we had an expansion of the SAM at Seattle Center? THAT would make a ton of sense. An expansion of the EMP or Sci-Fi museum there? THAT would make sense. Expand the science center there. General use--this is our Big Park in the middle of the city. I'd be saying it would be equally stupid to put a modern art sculpture park there like we have down on the waterfront.

We need something nice and general use there--that will get in a wide cross-spectrum of people--rather than something very niche and ultra-specific.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 31, 2010 at 3:56 PM · Report this
seandr 9
So, the Stranger really believes the public is better served by yet another underutilized lawn at the Seattle Center than a $500,000 a year revenue stream? Really, that's what you think?

And your response to their "glasstroturf" campaign is to drum up a fake "hipstroturf" campaign of your own?

This is some real compelling stuff y'all are cooking up in the news department over there.
Posted by seandr on March 31, 2010 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 10
@7 Preaching to the choir, and mail already gone.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 31, 2010 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 11
@9 All signs point to this Chihuly factor getting suddenly dumped on the public after backroom dealing. THAT is what I'm up in the shit about. If 75% of Seattle says give Dale the space, then hell yeah, give him the space. As long as that decision is reached openly and transparently: Great, good for him, good for the Needle, God bless the south side of the Seattle Center.

If it's done in a dubious fashion, start over.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 31, 2010 at 3:59 PM · Report this
Stranger, thank you so much for bringing some attention to this matter. I just wrote to them all.

Why not build this valuable museum on the corner of NW Market and 15th, where the Denny's used to be? Why not build it over one of the many other abandoned building sites? How much longer will we be the Emerald City, when everything is turned to glass?
Posted by Silica City on March 31, 2010 at 4:10 PM · Report this
" If 75% of Seattle says give Dale the space, then hell yeah, give him the space. "

So what? We have to vote on this too?

You people are the reason nothing ever gets fucking accomplished in this town.
Posted by Tiger's Wood on March 31, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
seandr 14
@11 "All signs point to this Chihuly factor getting suddenly dumped on the public after backroom dealing. "

Show me one such sign.
Posted by seandr on March 31, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
Baconcat 15
Wow, Seattle Center can be just like the Downtown Tacoma McDonald's!

I think Seattle Center needs costumed characters now.
Posted by Baconcat on March 31, 2010 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Moral of the Story: If you've got a multi-millionaire with daddy-issues sucking on your glass-pipe, you can put your crappy art where ever he wants to.
Posted by COMTE on March 31, 2010 at 4:27 PM · Report this

I don't think Squatch is doing much these days...
Posted by COMTE on March 31, 2010 at 4:28 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 18
@16 - he's already got most of the Gates Foundation building to store tons of it in. That's right across the street.

He doesn't need more.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 31, 2010 at 4:43 PM · Report this
Don't really understand why building an art museum is worth the ruckus. The more art in this town (regardless of the source) the better. I haven't seen Chihuly's facilities attack Tacoma. It's helped its local downtown character.
Posted by PLo on March 31, 2010 at 4:45 PM · Report this
FNARF - and "people in the art world" are all that I guess? I like Chihuly. There I said it. Have at me.
Posted by not a snob on March 31, 2010 at 4:56 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 21
This really rates three nearly identical Slog posts?
Posted by Free Lunch on March 31, 2010 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 22
Oh, wait. I found another one. Four nearly identical posts.
Posted by Free Lunch on March 31, 2010 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Thank you for putting this together. Just wrote them all, and will follow up with phone calls to each in the next few days.
Posted by rlv on March 31, 2010 at 5:23 PM · Report this
Wow. Just because Jen Graves doesn't like glass art, the Stranger has to get all commando? I was at the meeting watching as a bemused observer. The Stranger reporters stood at the back of the room pointedly not talking to anyone except the small group (of mostly senior citizens) who opposed the project. Nice to see that you're targeting a new demographic nowadays. The people speaking in favor were NOT all flacks and folks with a financial stake - they represented a very wide and interesting swath of our population. And everyone should really examine this proposal before getting all up in arms - It does not take up the last "green" space on the Center grounds, it does not replace a free attraction (have you visited the fun forest lately??) and it does have lots of opportunities for family/kid interaction. You want green space? Go visit the trees and bushes of Volunteer Park. I'll be splashing around the Seattle Center fountain, thanks!
Posted by Dingle Berries on March 31, 2010 at 5:31 PM · Report this
burgin22 25
I love how just mentioning "Chihuly" immediately inspires such frothing hatred amongst the hipster arbiters of taste in the PNW. It's hilarious.
Posted by burgin22 on March 31, 2010 at 5:38 PM · Report this
We would like to correct misleading information in this post.

Our social media team, which manages the Space Needle’s Facebook page, created another fan page early this month specifically for the Chihuly at the Needle project proposal. When they did that, the Space Needle’s typical promotion offering $25 coupons for Sky City was also placed on the new page. When this mistake was discovered (within 24 hours), the promotion was removed immediately. Out of 1,535 fans of the Chihuly at the Needle Facebook page, only 20 requested the coupon.

The Space Needle’s restaurant promotions have absolutely nothing to do with the Chihuly proposal. The Space Needle often gives away coupons, in person and online, to promote the Sky City restaurant.
Posted by Space Needle on March 31, 2010 at 5:44 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 27
Glass is not art. It is a craft. And I'm saying this as the grandchild of a professional glass blower.
Posted by keshmeshi on March 31, 2010 at 5:53 PM · Report this
stinkbug 28
Space Needle, how large is the Space Needle social media team?
Posted by stinkbug on March 31, 2010 at 6:13 PM · Report this
DOUG. 29
Too bad The Stranger wasn't this big an advocate for open space when we voted on the Commons in the mid-90s,
Posted by DOUG. on March 31, 2010 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Thanks for making it easy for me to write the powers-that-be. My suggestion (to them): if grass is too expensive, ask volunteer gardeners to create a child-friendly, low-water landscape for us -- the pubic -- to enjoy.
Posted by JaneM on March 31, 2010 at 6:25 PM · Report this
Let's make a permanent public space/tent city for less wealthy people modelled off of "Dignity Village" in Portland (check wikipedia).

There are some beautiful and creative structures that artists and other people can build and live in. Chihuly is welcome to donate some of his glass wares so people can incorporate them into their living spaces. The Space Needle can also donate $25 in meals to these less fortunate people whether they add them as Facebook friends or not.
Posted by Or let people sleep in the chihuly museum on March 31, 2010 at 6:44 PM · Report this
#9, explain how the public--the public, like you and I--will be served by a claimed $500,000 yearly revenue stream to Seattle Center.

I can't see that it will do a thing for me. What will it do for you?
Posted by sarah68 on March 31, 2010 at 7:02 PM · Report this
razorclammer 33
I don't care for Dale. He already has a museum for chrissake. BUT... why are we all huffy puffy about this? It's better than an empty lawn, and much better than a privately-run "Fun" forest. The Seattle center is strapped, and it's not like the museum will have a negative impact on the city of any kind. I say build it. More buildings with actual tenants in Seattle? DO IT.
Posted by razorclammer on March 31, 2010 at 7:19 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 34

One reason I oppose it is that I'm highly skeptical that this thing is going to be profitable, or will even break even. It would not surprise me one bit if, over the long-term, Seattle Center sees little financial gain from this project. No one outside of Seattle knows who the fuck Chihuly is, and locals are not going to flock to this "museum."

This thing is a tax shelter and ego booster. Full stop.
Posted by keshmeshi on March 31, 2010 at 10:37 PM · Report this
@34 "No one outside of Seattle knows who the fuck Chihuly is..." Whaaaaa....? Okay, that is just plain ignorance. Whether you like his art or not, Dale Chihuly is WORLD FAMOUS. His exhibits draw hoards of people. Like in the hundreds of thousands. Maybe that's what everyone is afraid of: That Seattle Center will become "popular." Ugh - wouldn't want that!
Posted by Dingle Berries on April 1, 2010 at 12:20 AM · Report this
@34, consider a few of these stats for past Chihuly exhibits outside of Seattle, where apparently no one knows who Chihuly is...

150,000 visitors at Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, FL. 392,670 visitors at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. 317,298 for Chihuly at the Conservatory in Chicago. 80,000 at the RISD in Providence. 31,681 at Pepperdine University. 950,000 at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. 1,000,000 in Jerusalem, a world record. Please note that this is a very small sampling found in about three minutes on Google, and that almost every report on a Chihuly exhibit is accompanied by the phrase "shattered attendance records". Like it or not, Chihuly is one of Seattle's biggest exports.
Posted by But I'm an arbiter of taste! on April 1, 2010 at 5:25 AM · Report this
No no no the bums need more place to loiter. WIthout them people might feel safe visiting or going out at night. Our vision can include paper bag stations and concrete pillows scattered throughout the grass. Imagine the park by the market, but with the decaying seattle center as a backdrop. Plus with the lack of condos in that area we really need to cater to the twelve people who live around there and the need to give them a yard since they chose to live in a condo.
Posted by karel on April 1, 2010 at 8:19 AM · Report this

You're on to something there. A big part of the financing for the rebuilding of the Key Arena for the (then) Seattle Supersonics was supposed to be their sale of luxury suites, which tanked. Guess who they asked to foot the bill when that happened? Yup, taxpayers.

Dollars to donuts the same thing will happen if this scheme goes through.

Posted by Mr. X on April 1, 2010 at 8:43 AM · Report this

Thank you for pointing out that absurd hypocrisy.
Posted by Jeff on April 1, 2010 at 8:59 AM · Report this
razorclammer 40
@34, 38

OK, so imagine the area in question, and compare it to key arena. BOTH lost their tenant, both are desperate for someone to come and privately foot the bill to improve the property, and pay the going rate for a lease. Both are CURRENTLY losing money for the city. Are we up to speed? Tenant=revenue. Remember, No public money is used, they pay us, regardless of attendance.
Posted by razorclammer on April 1, 2010 at 9:42 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 41
@24, you're way off the mark. I was the only Stranger staffer at the meeting, for one, and I interviewed a variety of people, including Ron Sevart, CEO of the Space Needle. And you're right--not all of the people speaking in favor were flacks, probably--but a shit ton of them were. In fact, one small business owner who got up and spoke in favor of the project neglected to mention to the crowd that he'd been hired to do so by one of the PR firms present (he told this to someone standing next to me as I was taking notes). The meeting was conducted in a highly shady, highly skewed way, and many people in the audience were shills. They weren't even trying very hard to disguise that fact.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on April 1, 2010 at 9:48 AM · Report this
sepiolida 42
I just finished calling everyone on that list, and they were very nice. One office told me they'd been getting a lot of calls like mine and the council member shares many of my concerns. Good sign.

Please make the calls!
Posted by sepiolida on April 1, 2010 at 9:55 AM · Report this
@40 KeyArena is making more money now than it has in a decade, and is likely to begin being profitable for the first time:…

Posted by jkjk on April 1, 2010 at 9:57 AM · Report this
My #0.02, emailed just now:

Please don't build a Chihuly Museum at the Seattle Center. We urban families have little enough green space as it is without sacrificing more of this public treasure to private enterprise. Please don't pave paradise. My kids and I love our Seattle Center just the way it is: open enough to provide relief from the congested views of urban living. We honor Dale Chihuly, but can not fly a kite inside this proposed museum. Neither can we spread out on green, fragrant grass and watch the clouds drift along over our city's internationally recognized landmark from inside the museum.
Posted by seattle urban family on April 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM · Report this

Can you convert "shit ton" to metric for me?
Posted by Jeff on April 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM · Report this
oops, strike the more money part, the profitability is due to the settlement with the sonics paying off the mortgage, I posted too quickly.
Posted by jkjk on April 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM · Report this
raindrop 47
@4: Agreed. The same thing could be said about Georgia O'Keeffe for Santa Fe. She was just good at PR. Among New Mexico artists, she's was maybe #1 in sales, but not in the top 100 in impact or reviews. No one in the art world cared a shit about that old cranky bitch. (I grew up in Santa Fe, and O'Keeffe viciously tore into a friend of mine working at a health food shop for not having a particular bottle size of vitamins.)
Posted by raindrop on April 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM · Report this
There's a big grassy area on either side of this that no one uses now anyway. Big deal, Seattle Center started as, and still is, a collection of private enterprises. Why don't we tear down the Key and make that a park instead.
Posted by IHDS on April 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Has trying to force an analogy to the Commons vote become a Godwin's Law for any Slog thread on land use? Has it? Hmm?
Posted by gloomy gus on April 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 50
@48 Because Key Arena is a massive structure with a myriad number of uses (but bizarrely was designed to not support ice hockey).

The Fun Forest is a flat area with structures that will be removed, and could be trivially repurposed to any other function. A museum. A grassy field. Anything.

And no one uses the grassy areas? You ever been there in the middle of summer when there are people everywhere?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 1, 2010 at 10:14 AM · Report this
Chihuly is a greatly popular artist. His art shows worldwide are pretty awesome. Commercial for sure, but lots of what happens at Seattle Center is commercial. That's ok.

Someone wants to invest millions into the City. Let's find a way to take advantage of that.

This anti-museam crusade is akin to the anti-Commons crusade. What were we left with there? Exactly what pro-Commons folks predicted. We had a choice then - accept Paul Allen's gift to the City in the form of a park, certainly a park that would benefit Allen's property development company, Vulcan, but also the City, or let the whole of the area be developed. That campaign helped get the whole area getting developed and no park.

Now we have another choice - let someone invest in a massive gallery showcasing Seattle's most popular artist, or, have some more lawn at a park that already has a massive lawn unused most of the year, and that will have even more open space lawn when the Memorial Stadium goes away. So we could have a popular tourist attraction that draws people to the area and benefits local business and improves the Center, or more grass - and keep in mind that grass ain't exactly environmentally friendly (water, fertilizer, gas mowers, etc, etc).

Lastly - you're really citing the "master plan" as support of your argument? That plan is lame. Let's see some leadership from the City in developing Seattle Center into a great, popular place. Major projects in this City get built because of vision - Benaroya Hall, McCaw Hall, The Space Needle, etc, etc. Let's make something popular happen at Seattle Center.

Alternative idea though - build a 4500 capacity live music venue in that space - similar to the Austin Music Hall.

But more lawn? Yawn.
Posted by Meinert on April 1, 2010 at 10:25 AM · Report this
@24 I can 100% confirm that the space needle hosed a party for 150 people the day of that meeting at their skyline banquet level. 150 people brought there to stack that meeting.
Posted by jfresh on April 1, 2010 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Meinert - I'm in favor of the live music venue. But is there enough time in the supposed RFP process to explore the concert, ID an operator, create a business partnership plan and put together a decent response?
Posted by iviola on April 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM · Report this
DOUG. 54
Gee, I'm really glad we don't have that downtown park...

"...The Times published a map showing the Seattle Commons proponents’ plans for east downtown. You know they want a long park from Denny Way to Lake Union. That’s the sugar-coating for their real scheme: thousands of condos and apts., mostly upper-income. The Times map showed all the blocks the Commons advocates plan to demolish. The Off Ramp, RKCNDY, and Lake Union Pub are all slated for removal. "
--Clark Humphrey, The Stranger, 1994

See you at RKCNDY!!!
Posted by DOUG. on April 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM · Report this
@50 - open space at Seattle Center is important. And yes, for a few months every year is gets used. It's especially important to the festivals. And we love them.

However, using the space they are talking about using for the museum is not losing any open space - it's not open space now.

I like open space, though not necessarily more environmentally unfriendly lawn.
Posted by Meinert on April 1, 2010 at 10:41 AM · Report this
I'd like to know what the nearby small walk-in business owners think of the public Master Plan process. I bet they're all like, fuck years of public planning, fuck good taste, fuck free admission, let's trap us some tourists!

Oh hey, Meinert!
Posted by gloomy gus on April 1, 2010 at 10:43 AM · Report this
@53 - I too think we need a venue like that. But we could have both. Take down the old Mercer Arena and use that space for a new, inexpensive to operate, 4-5000 capacity room with great production. Seattle needs that. But we could have that AND a new museum paid for by an angel investor. Let's make Seattle Center an attraction, not just a field.
Posted by Meinert on April 1, 2010 at 10:44 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 58
@35 and 36,

You think the shlubs who make up the majority of tourists know who he is? Don't make me laugh.

I'm definitely more knowledgeable about art than the average American (again, the majority of tourists), and I never heard of the dude before I moved here.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 1, 2010 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 59
@57 Why does everything have to be an attraction? Do we want whats left of Seattle Center to be Times Square or Central Park?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 1, 2010 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Sweet, thanks for all those numbers and emails... just sent mine off in support of the museum. Better call the whaaaaaambulance, somebody doesn't like Chihuly!

Like we really need another patch of grass for the homeless to congregate. Museum = tourist dollars. Last time I checked, the city is in dire need of funds.
Posted by Get over it on April 1, 2010 at 11:39 AM · Report this
sepiolida 61
You're entitled to your opinion, @60, but you're pretty fucking immature about it. I don't think most people are opposed to a museum or tourist attraction of some sort. We just don't want another museum devoted to some egomaniac overrated artist. I've heard rotating artists (which is a good idea because locals have a reason to see it more than once), a kid friendly place, expansion of the Pacific Science Center/Natural History Museum which is my personal favorite. That's public space, and we don't want another bunch of dumb glass.

Also, I want to punch anyone who says whaaambulance in the face.
Posted by sepiolida on April 1, 2010 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Wow your FREE HUGS avatar and punching someone in the face is quite contradictory. Not surprised though, seeing you are a Stranger reader!

Dumb glass = tourist dollars! BUILD IT!
Posted by Get Over It on April 1, 2010 at 12:09 PM · Report this
sepiolida 63
You'll have to pay closer attention to the avatar to get the irony.

i didn't know dumb glass = only possible source of tourist dollars despite it's dumbness. i guess building something not dumb is out of the question.

Posted by sepiolida on April 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM · Report this
@44 The Chihuly at the Needle project won't "pave paradise." Actually, it calls for the removal of one acre of asphalt, which will be replaced by a landscaped garden.

The exisiting Fun Forest building would also be repurposed and "greenified" and would house most of the artwork. The plan also calls for widening the walkway between the Centerhouse and the FF building.

The Chihuly at the Needle project only involves the south section fo the Fun Forest. There are still 3+ acres on the north side of the monorail station that will be open.
Posted by Space Needle Guy on April 1, 2010 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Fnarf 65
@58, the problem with your argument is that dumb schlub tourists are EXACTLY the kind of people who know who Chihuly is. They saw him in Vegas.

The more you know about art, the less likely you are to have ever heard of Fat Pirate, it's true, but tourists don't know anything about art. They know all about Chihuly, though.

In that sense he is an icon of our age. I've changed my mind. They should build this museum, and they should build it a foot taller than the Space Needle, in the shape of a giant dick with an eye patch on it. Cover the outside with Ed Hardy designs. Alternate floors between glass art and Cheesecake Factories. Pass a federal law requiring every American who weighs over 250 pounds to visit this shrine twice a year.
Posted by Fnarf on April 1, 2010 at 12:42 PM · Report this
meowmeowkitty 66
Meinert, I love your music venue idea, but you are just dead wrong about Chihuly. He's a hack and a profiteer. I imagine when this goes through we can dedicate six months of PBS pledge drives to a documentary about the building of the museum, while Dale sells his l'il donor gifts and makes another few million.
Posted by meowmeowkitty on April 1, 2010 at 12:49 PM · Report this
merry 67
@ 65 - That is brilliant!! I especially love the detail of the Ed Hardy designs all over the outside... I suppose from the inside that might have a cool kind of stained glass effect...

You made me LOL!!

Posted by merry on April 1, 2010 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Meinert's a hack and greedhead, just like Chihuly.
Posted by Capitol Hill Ripoff & Shakedown on April 1, 2010 at 1:00 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 69

Damn, you're right.

I still say that, if they're that determined to go ahead with it, they should just turn the Space Needle into this museum.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 1, 2010 at 1:11 PM · Report this
I will defend Meinert's honor, though not the point of view he has at the moment, here in comment number 69. Thank you.
Posted by gloomy gus on April 1, 2010 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Missed it! Shit!!
Posted by gloomy gus on April 1, 2010 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Timrrr 72
If the Wright family wants to even BE CONSIDERED for this, they need to commit some earnest moneys to show their love for the city… say in the form of a no-strings attached $500,000 4th of July firework sponsorship!!!
Posted by Timrrr on April 1, 2010 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Good, so we have established that people who like his art are lesser people and have no place in Seattle. That makes it easier to figure out this situation.

And no, I don't much care for this craft either, but it's better than just having more lawn.
Posted by IHDS on April 1, 2010 at 1:19 PM · Report this
@72 Do we get a little love for the show we do every New Year's Eve?
Posted by Space Needle Guy on April 1, 2010 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 75
Couldn't we just have the Toll money from the Billionaires Tunnel pay for a Chihulhy Floating Glass Boat Museum?
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 1, 2010 at 2:02 PM · Report this
"No one outside of Seattle knows who the fuck Chihuly is..."

Keshmeshi, you constantly just make shit up and present it as fact. Love him or hate him, whether it's on merit or blatant self-promotion, the man is better known than almost any American artist of the day.
Posted by bigyaz on April 1, 2010 at 2:13 PM · Report this
crazycatguy 77
I wouldn't go to the Center to see a museum of Chihuly glass, but my out of town relatives would love it.
Posted by crazycatguy on April 1, 2010 at 2:19 PM · Report this
For everyone who says Dale Chihuly has a museum in Tacoma (The Museum of Glass)

If you read MOG’s website, you can learn the history of the museum:…
Phil Phibbs, retired president of UPS and Dale Chihuly had a conversation about how great it would be if Tacoma had a glass museum. Mr. Phipps took that idea to Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma. The council liked the idea and “initially the Museum focused exclusively on Dale Chihuly, the artist himself insisted that the Museum should expand its mission to include works in glass by artists worldwide” And this is how the museum unfolded. There are several small works by Chihuly in their collection, but they are not always on view, I don’t think. He has been invited as a visiting artist, but no more than any other glass artist –only for a few weeks in the past 8 years MOG has existed. He has never had a solo show at the Museum.

The Bridge of Glass which leads up to the Museum is not part of the museum. It is open to the public with no admission price. You can read more about it, but I quote the MOG information page on this work: “A partnership between the Museum of Glass, legendary Studio Glass pioneer Dale Chihuly and the city of Tacoma resulted in the Chihuly Bridge of Glass” The Bridge belongs not to MOG but to the city of Tacoma.

“Chihuly was adamant from the start that the bridge needed to be a place for people, not an abstract construct understood only by a few in the art world." —Andersson
More info…
Posted by m noel on April 1, 2010 at 2:41 PM · Report this
"I love how just mentioning "Chihuly" immediately inspires such frothing hatred amongst the hipster arbiters of taste in the PNW. It's hilarious."

It'll be even funnier when this deal gets done....
Posted by Limousine Liberal on April 1, 2010 at 3:14 PM · Report this
This city's soul is being sucked dry by homogenized, elitist bullshit. It's shit like this that made me leave.

Chihuly doesn't even blow his own glass. He claims copyright on glass shapes and processes that have been part of glass art for centuries. The appeal of his work erodes as it saturates the art market -- it's rapidly becoming nothing more than overpriced, mass market, commercially produced glass.

Ask the guy who leased the Fun Forest space all these years how the city screwed him in this recent deal. That last bit of evidence of the goofy, old time Seattle has been an embarrassment to city and business leaders for a couple of decades.

But this is typical of Seattle. City and business leaders strongarmed their way into getting the World's Fair brought to town 50 years ago -- and now even that "history" is being eradicated.

It happens every couple of decades -- go back even further and see how the Denny Regrade came about. Seattle's history of bullying and backroom deals rivals that of Chicago's -- only out here we're more polite about it.

Posted by themillertest on April 1, 2010 at 4:15 PM · Report this
@65 - Fnarf, you're better than this. Sure, Chihuly is a more commercial leaning artist. But he's hardly a hack. And you're really insulting him for having one eye and being a little overweight? What a completely stupid argument, far beneath your intellect.

Look, tourism is a very important part of the economic landscape of this City. And Seattle Center is already in large part a place for tourists to visit. It's also a great place for residents.

And Fnarf, For those of us who work, the economy matters. I mean, c'mon, someone has to work to pay for your government assistance so you can spend all day posting on the Slog.

Posted by Meinert on April 1, 2010 at 4:34 PM · Report this
" homogenized, elitist bullshit"

Yes, museums, so elitist.
Posted by Limousine Liberal on April 1, 2010 at 4:40 PM · Report this
oldmanandthesea 83
Seattle's most overrated artist pays for fans? never...
Posted by oldmanandthesea on April 1, 2010 at 5:12 PM · Report this
Hey Limousine Liberal, I have nothing against museums, did I say that? No.

I guess you're well versed in the FOX News school of debate: deflect, deflect, deflect.

And Meinart, What kind of work do *you* do that allows you to comment on the Slog in the middle of the day? Must be nice to sit in your cubicle in judgment of the rest of us.

I'm at home today because I just got diagnosed with cancer... what's your excuse for being an a**hole?
Posted by themillertest on April 1, 2010 at 6:46 PM · Report this
" I just got diagnosed with cancer..."

Wow, is it the kind that makes you a rude, angry asshole?
Posted by Limousine Liberal on April 1, 2010 at 7:16 PM · Report this
I'm only an asshole when people are rude... :P
Posted by themillertest on April 1, 2010 at 7:47 PM · Report this
lythea 87
How is he not a hack? All he does is draw little doodles and hire talented glassblowers. He's not even an artist, he's just running a business.
Posted by lythea on April 1, 2010 at 8:27 PM · Report this
Evel Knievel had the same kind of disapproval in his hometowm of Butte Montana. He was a performance artist reviled by his peers while bringing international fame and fortune home. Oh, and is it art or craft? It is the same. The same elements go into both. Chihuly has done more for glass art than any other person since Louis Comfort Tiffany. And what other artist in Seattle hires a staff of maybe 100?
Posted by rarus on April 1, 2010 at 8:40 PM · Report this
@88, he also helped put Seattle on the map as a leading word center of glass art (or craft, if you must) - both in terms of educational facilities and creation/production. It's an industry that helps keep artists, assistants, gallery owners, gallery workers, museum workers and people in the tourism industry employed. Two of my close friends are glass artists that are based in Seattle but are good enough to exhibit nationally. While they may not like Chihuly personally (both worked for him long ago) or his style, they 100% acknowledge that he's a big part of the reason they can make a living at what they do. I just find all this hullabaloo so tiring and pretentious. Chihuly-hating among Seattle's hipster elite is so dull and predictable, as are Dominic's desperate screeds on this matter.
Posted by what to do, what to do on April 2, 2010 at 8:38 AM · Report this
I was AT the famous Chihuly smack-down, which pretty much failed to materialize. I do think Chihuly deserves a Seattle museum, but not at the base of the Space Needle, on public land, previously dedicated to open space.
I was there to encourage the inclusion of a glass studio for students. Yes, with a hot shop on site. Dale Chihuly is all very well and good, but the future needs more than blah-blah, and there is no dedicated space in the FINISHED architectural plans(!) for the Chihuly-at-the-Needle project.
Posted by Gregory Lyons on April 2, 2010 at 9:33 AM · Report this
Join the Facebook page: "NO to Chihuly at the Needle"

We need to show that the funded PR campaign of the Wright / Chihuly Corporation isn't representative of what the people of Seattle want.…
Posted by NoChihuly on April 2, 2010 at 1:59 PM · Report this
@20- I like Chihuly too, even if other people do all the actual work (he's still the designer and master-mind of the operation and publicity behind it). He's been good for glass as being recognized as art beyond just pipes and crafts.
@27- I AM a glassblower; went to a University with a BFA and everything, and glass IS art if you create art with it. It's a 3-dimensional medium of artistic expression. What you're saying basically says that because it's 3-D and can hold liquid if in various forms that there's no art to it, but I've seen sculpture and expression in glass vessels that is breathtaking and truly warrants the category of art. It can be a craft if you make crafts with it. Many professional glass blowers make vases and ornaments and other crafts which are very fun and lucrative, but that doesn't mean that all glass-blowers are craftsmen and not artists.
To the Stranger- I don't really see what the big deal is with this whole thing; if you don't like it, don't go to it. It may inspire young artists to try a new medium.
@90- that's a great idea with the student space, instead of trying to stop the entire project, maybe we should all just try to convince the planners to include that.
Posted by anpm on April 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Greg 93
Everybody take a big chill pill. This isn't that fucking important.
Posted by Greg on April 2, 2010 at 9:32 PM · Report this

Dear Mayor McGinn and Councilmember’s,

I am NOT a supporter of the proposed Chihuly at the Needle Exhibit! As a proponent of both art and green open spaces, I believe that the Chihuly at the Needle will NOT help to provide both on the Seattle Center Campus. And, quite the opposite. It crowds the Space Needle and will take away the breadth of space that, the 2008 plan provides beautifully.

Dale Chihuly’s exhibits have drawn millions and millions of people around the world. With more than $50 million of his glass art on display at the Chihuly at the Needle project, it promises to be the largest and most beautiful installation of his artwork in the world. If you allow for it to be built ELSEWHERE, there is no doubt that millions of people will come to the Seattle Center campus to appreciate and be inspired by his creations. Simply, think of a different location other than at the foot of the Needle. The 2008 plan provides lot's other locations, including the Center House expansion, that would provide a more dynamic "marriage."

Thus, like breadth of space that is considered for the Eiffel Tower is like the space surrounding our trademark would be preserved it for generations. This crowding at the base is reminiscent of Vegas, Baby!

It totally ignores the connection made with the west side of the campus with the relocation of the Mural and reflection pool. And the REMOVAL OF THE FUN FOREST BUILDING. In addition to landscaping the 1.5 acres of asphalt in the South Fun Forest, the Chihuly at the Needle project will provide more than $600,000 in revenues (plus rent) to the City of Seattle each year. It is my hope that the City of Seattle will use some of those funds to create a landscaped space in the north section of the Fun Forest for which there are no funds for at this time. Therefore, lets use a different location, away from the base, i.e. Center House expansion.

The new circulation provided by the REMOVAL of the Fun Forest building invites and draws folks from all over the world to the Centers entirety while framing the Needle in green landscaping.

I respectively request that YOU DO NOT support this project. It simply, does not add to the Center but takes away from the newly found beauty in the subtle and elegant open space, that the 2008 plan provides with the REMOVAL of the Fun Forest building, of our very special trademark, the Space Needle
Posted by Muncey on April 7, 2010 at 12:18 PM · Report this

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