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School of Education Alumni News

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UW-Madison to award Chihuly honorary doctor of fine arts degree

April 23, 2013

Dale Chihuly, who is considered by some to be the preeminent artist working in the glass medium today, will be awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree at UW-Madison’s commencement in May, University Communications reports.

Chihuly came to the UW in the 1960s to study with Harvey Littleton at what was then the first studio art glass program at a university, art professor and School of Education Associate Dean Jim Escalante writes in his nomination of the sculptor.

An example of Chihuly's art at the Kohl CenterAccording to the University Communications article, the first public exhibition of Chihuly’s art was at the Madison Art Center in 1967, the same year he earned a master of science degree from the UW. He also has a master of fine arts degree in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Art Design.

His work has been displayed worldwide in hundreds of exhibitions and collections. Many locally will recognize his work “Mendota Wall,” which can be viewed at the Kohl Center.

“No single living artist has done as much for art glass (as) he has,” writes Escalante of Chihuly. “His innovations in production methods, color application and installations in public settings are recognized as groundbreaking. Dale Chihuly is arguably the most prominent glass worker in the United States and quite possibly the world.”

Chihuly will receive his honorary degree at the 5:30 p.m. commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17 at the Kohl Center. The ceremony is the first of five that will be held that weekend.

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