Chihuly Named First National Living Treasure

Dale Chihuly, whose experiments in blown glass led to his international recognition as a leader of the studio glass movement, has been named recipient of the first National Living Treasure award, according to the Washington State Arts Commission.

Chihuly's selection was announced by North Carolina Gov. James Martin and James R. Leutze, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, originator of the biennial award, which recognizes Americans who exemplify the highest levels of creativity and execution in their fields.

Chihuly was chosen from a field of candidates submitted by governors from around the country. The judges were from eight states and three countries.

Chihuly is a Tacoma native who in 1971, with John Hauberg and Anne Gould Hauberg, founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, which attracts hundreds of teachers and students from around the world.

Chihuly was introduced to glass in the early 1960s when he wove bits of colored glass into a tapestry while studying interior design at the University of Washington.

Many of Chihuly's designs were inspired by Native American art as well as coastal sea life and flora.