Chihuly Sanctuary unveiled at Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

Dale Chihuly premiered his Glass on Glass pieces at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. Glass on Glass is a combination of painting and sculpture that is both two- and three-dimensional, transparent and opaque.

Dale Chihuly premiered his Glass on Glass pieces at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. Glass on Glass is a combination of painting and sculpture that is both two- and three-dimensional, transparent and opaque.

 TO: All media

The link below contains the entire press kit packet. The link includes 15 high quality photos of the Chihuly Sanctuary, including several dramatic shots taken at night. In addition, there is a video that contains some excellent sound bites and b-roll. Please let me know if you have questions or need anything else. Thanks for your consideration.

Press kit packet:


The Chihuly Sanctuary, given by Suzanne and Walter Scott – the most comprehensive health care environment structure ever created by world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly – was unveiled today at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, Neb.

Located on the second and fourth floors in the heart of the 10-story cancer center, the Chihuly Sanctuary features 10 site-specific art installations designed to provide a place of respite and reflection for patients, families and staff dealing with cancer. It will serve as the cornerstone of the Healing Arts Program with art on display throughout the massive 615,000-square-foot, $323 million building on the campus of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine.

“It’s absolutely breathtaking, just stunning,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Dale Chihuly’s creativity is astounding and unmatched. This is simply a treasure for our community. It will truly be a source of inspiration for anyone who views it.”

Omaha philanthropists Walter Scott and his late wife, Suzanne, made the lead gift to make the sanctuary possible. Additional gifts were made by the Gail E. Davis family and Mary Jean and Hugh Williams.

“A cancer diagnosis is one of the most profound experiences a patient can have,” said Daniel J. DeBehnke, M.D., M.B.A., CEO of Nebraska Medicine. “Numerous studies show the arts can have an important impact on the healing process. That’s why the Healing Arts Program exists – to provide patients, their families and our staff a compassionate, supportive and inspirational environment.”

In all, the Healing Arts Program includes more than 200 pieces of original works of art throughout the building. The program eventually will extend across the medical center campus.

Another signature area within the cancer center is Leslie’s Healing Garden, an outdoor, all-season garden for which Marshall and Mona Faith were the benefactors.

“The pieces reflect a diversity of cultures and perspectives and create an oasis of calm that provides pleasant distractions from the anxiety of visits and treatments,” Dr. Gold said. “They will provide patients, staff and visitors opportunities for introspection and will motivate, rejuvenate and build endurance to fight against cancer on all fronts.”

“Healing requires more than just treating the patient medically,” said Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “Our program is designed to enhance the patient experience.

“Studies have shown that creating an atmosphere of hope and resilience through artwork goes beyond curing a disease and leads to improved patient outcomes. Patients, visitors and staff all will benefit from this environment.”

Chihuly and his team worked closely with UNMC/Nebraska Medicine to create a space where patients and their families, researchers and caregivers can find a moment of peace and beauty during the highly stress-filled life events of cancer treatment.

The organic shape and wave-like design of the Chihuly Sanctuary were inspired by the artist’s iconic Macchia series, which sets itself apart from the surrounding architecture.

One of the highlights of the Chihuly Sanctuary is a cone-like structure that is intended to provide comfort, peace and meditation. Natural light will pass through the glass and cast shadows that will shift and change throughout the day.

The idea of the sanctuary so inspired Chihuly that he created a new body of work he calls Glass on Glass – a combination of painting and sculpture that is both two- and three-dimensional, transparent and opaque. The Glass on Glass pieces will make their world premiere at the Chihuly Sanctuary.

To create these pieces, Chihuly paints with vitreous-glass enamel on glass panels – glass on glass. He then creates overlapping compositions that are encased within a frame. When lit, they come to life as dynamic, multidimensional paintings in color, light and glass.

“I really wanted to create a space for people to meditate and find a moment of peace,” Chihuly said.

Chihuly selected two of his favorite colors to accent the exterior of the Chihuly Sanctuary. The roof line has been defined in a bright chartreuse color inspired by the lipwraps from his Macchia series, while the exterior color of the cone of the Chihuly Sanctuary will welcome patients, researchers and caregivers in a warm yellow tone.

The defining colors of the Chihuly Sanctuary can be easily seen from many vantage points at the cancer center, Chihuly said, signifying to everyone that the space is something truly unique and special – a place where art and healing have come together to help make a difference in the lives of patients, researchers and caregivers.

Amy Jenson serves as executive director of the Healing Arts Program, while Colleen Heavican is the curator. Gail Yanney, M.D., is the founding chair of the program, and Sarah Yale is the incoming chair.

“The physical art in the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is only the beginning,” Jenson said. “In the fall we will be offering a number of therapeutic programs to build on the patient, family and staff experience.” 

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center will open its doors to its first patients in early June. Cancer research will be conducted in the Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower, which features 98 research labs. Clinical treatments will be delivered in the 108-bed C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital.

Dale Chihuly is an artist whose vision is centered around color, shape, light and transparency. Over his 50-year career, he has become known for his iconic glass sculptures but glass is just one of the media he employs to realize his vision – he also draws, paints and sculpts using other materials. He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific architectural installations in public spaces, and in exhibitions presented in museums and gardens worldwide.

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center – a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center – is a collaboration of Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. The new cancer center will open in June 2017 with cancer research at the Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower and clinical treatments at the C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital.