Artist Dale Chihuly to create art for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: An artist’s depiction of what the Chihuly Sanctuary may look like within the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

Artist Dale Chihuly will bring his vibrant works of art to patients, families and staff at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center when it opens in the spring of 2017.

Chihuly, a pioneer of the studio glass movement and considered to be one of the world’s foremost artists working in glass today, will create an installation known as the Chihuly Sanctuary inside the cancer center.

Made possible with a gift from Suzanne and Walter Scott, the Chihuly Sanctuary will be a cornerstone of the Healing Arts Program, and when complete it will have five distinct spaces, each with artwork created specifically for that space.

“This small corner of the city is well on its way to becoming a world-class medical center, so we thought it was worthy of some world-class art,” said Walter Scott, lead donor.

With a background in architecture, Chihuly has always had a keen interest in space and light. This project was of particular interest to the artist because of the healing and meditative aspect his artwork could bring to patients and families.

“I really wanted to create a space for people to meditate and find a moment of peace,” said Chihuly, who hopes the artwork is a welcome addition to the Cancer Center and to the city.

An internationally acclaimed artist, Chihuly is credited with single-handedly elevating glass-blowing from craft to fine art. He is renowned for his ambitious architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, museums and gardens.

“We are fortunate to have Mr. Chihuly’s art as a part of our campus,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor of UNMC and chairman of the Nebraska Medicine advisory board. “I have no doubt that the brilliant colors and innovative shapes he’s come to be known for will serve as an inspiration to our patients on their journey toward healing, and to our staff and students as we travel on this journey together.”

Kenneth Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, said, “Art can have a very positive effect on the healing process. Having beautiful, peaceful and creative pieces by one of the most talented artists in the world today, as one of the cornerstones of our Healing Arts Program, gives me great confidence that we are doing everything possible to help our patients heal emotionally, as well as physically.”

While Chihuly’s artwork can be found in a number of hospitals across the country, this will be one of the largest installations he has created within a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. NCI-designated centers are the anchors of the nation’s cancer research effort, which form the backbone of NCI’s programs for studying and controlling cancer.

“We know patients will have high expectations for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” said Gail Yanney, M.D., Healing Arts Program committee member. “The Chihuly Sanctuary is being designed to surpass those expectations in every possible way. We’re hopeful it will let patients know how committed we are to healing on a number of different levels.”

The Chihuly Sanctuary joins the previously announced Leslie’s Healing Garden and the commissions of artists Rob Ley and Suzy Taekyung Kim in forming the Healing Arts Program at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. It’s anticipated that hundreds more original works of art will eventually round out the program – all designed to provide patients, staff and visitors with inspiration, comfort and calm, while also creating an atmosphere that feels distinctly different from the traditional hospital setting.

“It has been an honor and a rewarding challenge for me to work on the Chihuly Sanctuary,” said Chihuly, “I’m really looking forward to everything coming together—soon everyone will be able to enjoy the artwork and the space.”

News media contacts:

Taylor Wilson, Nebraska Medicine,, 402-559-7037

Tom O’Connor, UNMC Public Relations,, 402-559-4690

Robb Crouch, University of Nebraska Foundation,, 402-458-1142

Share this story:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Looking for more stories?