DALLAS – The patrons admire, inspect and capture from every angle and when dusk sets in, so do the lines to re-enter the Dallas Arboretum and get blown away, all over again.
"They are even more beautiful at night time than they were in the day time and I did not think that was possible," said Dixie Harper of Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Dale Chihuly's blown glass settled into the gardens in May and, with it, brought hundreds of thousands more visitors to the shore of White Rock Lake than ever before. The exhibit closes on Monday.
Niijima Boats and Floats, the art installation in A Woman's Garden was inspired by Chihuly's time in Japan. Since it has been in Dallas it has survived hail, snow and rain on its last night. Dixie Harper and her granddaughter have seen Chihuly work sin other cities but this exhibit and this piece, is still their favorite.
"I've never seen it on the water and have never seen it in a night setting like this," said Harper. "I just like how it's all on the water and lit up and how interesting it's laid out," noted Harper Crisp. "We have pieces that they've had in storage for years that Dale said, 'That's what I want right there. That's going to look best,'" said Wendy Retz of the Dallas Arboretum.
A long string of sold out nights has brought national attention to the Arboretum and the exhibit. Now with the Chihuly exhibit over, comes a challenge. It will take five 18 wheeler trucks to take the art back to Seattle, where Chihuly lives. Breakdown will take about a week, it starts on Wednesday.
Because of the exhibit, an estimated 300,000 more visitors took in the grounds of the Dallas Arboretum this year, officials say.
"It's going to be hard to top Chihuly. It really is," said Retz.