A newly commissioned glass sculpture by nationally-known artist Michele Gutlove is being installed and dedicated this week in the three-story atrium that fronts the new civic building of University Place. “Between Sea and Sky,” consisting of suspended hand-blown glass reflecting the water environment of the Northwest, is the result of $100,000 raised by the UP for Arts nonprofit. It will be publicly dedicated at 10 a.m. Saturday with a ballet performance inspired by the artwork.
“This is what people voted for to represent our area: the Northwest and University Place,” said Bunny Nance, president of UP for Arts, which has been enriching the city with art and music for 12 years. “It was so remarkable to me, the response from people (supporting the work.) The city of University Place is very much interested in the beauty of things around them.”
The sculpture will hang from the ceiling in the tall front window of the atrium, visible from inside and outside the building. Comprising more than 750 pieces of individually fused glass representing clouds, water, kelp and fish, the sculpture will subtly change color with the changing light from outside, also shifting patterns with air movement. LED lights along the sculpture’s strands will highlight the work at night.
Based in the Boston area and also a trained architect, Gutlove has glass installations around the country, Finland and Canada. She’ll be installing the work every day this week, helped by her son.
To celebrate the new artwork, the University Place-based Dance Theatre Northwest will perform a new ballet inspired by the theme of the work and choreographed by director Melanie Kirk-Stauffer. Dancing with the glass’s reflections, each dancer will have a unique costume and represent various aspects of nature in the Pacific Northwest, to the Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides” Overture and music by Evgeny Svetlanov and Tchaikovsky. The ballet will also be performed Friday (May 29) at a private donor event. Dance Theatre Northwest was recognized by the city of University Place in 2014 for artistic excellence and lasting contribution to the community.