JUMP Toronto’s tradition of attending an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the Royal Ontario Museum continued this past December with the beautiful Chihuly Glass Blowing exhibition as the focal point.
A group of forty protégés and mentors gathered in the lobby to meet up with our personal guide who has worked at the ROM for over 20 years and is extremely knowledgeable about Chihuly and his work. Once everyone arrived, we were led into the freight elevator and down into the basement of the famous Crystal wing of the museum that houses the new exhibit. At the entrance to the exhibit we met up with Josh Basseches, the new Director and CEO of the ROM , who warmly welcomed the JUMP group , briefly sharing his own career journey which started with an undergraduate degree at a small liberal arts university much like Bishops.
While we had heard that the exhibit was amazing, the dark and unassuming entrance did not prepare us for what is a truly mind blowing series of art installations. Walking through the narrow entrance, we emerged into a small room with one large boat filled with glass sculptures that resembled marbles, and another with marvellous blue and purple creations. Passing through the small room we followed our guide into a large atrium with an island in the middle that served as a stage for hundreds of different-sized sculptures that was reminiscent of the bottom of the ocean. Of these formations, the most eye-catching was a 20 foot-plus tower of white and pink that looked like seaweed, surrounded by smaller green and blue creations. While most of the attendees were already awe struck by Chihuly’s work, the best part of this exhibit was the glass ceiling he created made up of hundreds of smaller, colourful creations that resembled large shells and flowers. There is no question that one could easily get lost simply gazing up at this mesmerizing ceiling the way one does gazing up at stars. This is probably why the museum has elected to spread bean-bags across the floor for visitors to lie on as they gaze up at the wide expanse of Chihuly’s blown glass ceiling. The exhibit was simply breathtaking and brought out the photographer in every JUMP member. An album with a selection of those photos can be accessed on the www.bujump.com website.
Once we satisfied our artistic sides at the museum, it was time to satisfy our social ones. The second half of the annual event featured cocktails and appetizers at a local pub to celebrate the holiday season. Congregating at the aptly named Brew-Ha-Ha , we were able to chat with JUMP members new and old while enjoying stellar Canadian craft beers and pub food. As the crowd began to thin, we found ourselves thinking back on another successful year for the JUMP program and looking forward to besting it in 2017.