Wednesday, June 13, 2012 , Updated 9:34 a.m., June 14, 2012
UPDATEDX2: Chihuly exhibit at Dallas Arboretum hit by hail
Mild damage to six glass lily pads, but nothing catastrophic.
DALLAS A pair of storms passing through Dallas late Wednesday afternoon rained down hail along US 75 and east to White Rock Lake, showering the Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum.
Dallas Arboretum spokeswoman Wendy Rentz said that the installation suffered "minor damage," but offered reassurance that the exhibit was still open and mostly intact.
"Of over two dozen sculptures in the exhibit, only one sustained minor damage," Rentz said. "It's the Persian pond sculpture, which has approximately 30 individual pieces. Of those, six received damage. They look like lily pads. They were small pieces but we did have to remove the six. It's very easily fixed, so we hope to have them replaced shortly. We consider ourselves very lucky."
The Arboretum staff knew that Texas weather presented a risk.
"It wouldn't be smart for us to not know this was a possibility," Rentz said. "We knew it. Chihuly Studios in Seattle knew it. It happens and we feel very fortunate."
Wednesday night was a "Chihuly night," so the gardens opened at 6 p.m.
"We had people from all over North Texas in, and with hundreds of people coming to an outdoor exhibit, just to have everyone safe is our main goal," Rentz said. "There were no reports of anyone getting hurt or cars being damaged."
Twitter user @BlazingTexasSun posted a photo from the exhibit, with the caption, "Hailstorm at the #Dallas Arboretum cooling me off for a while. Poor #Chihuly sculptures."
The Dallas Arboretum told KRLD that at least one of the glass sculptures sustained minor damage, while Fox 4 News reported that a couple of "Persian statues" were damaged. Channel 5 weatherman David Finfrock showed footage of baseball size hail, and a Channel 5 chopper hovered over the exhibit at the Arboretum, where hail up to two inches in diameter was reported.
"We did have hail reported, and while there may be some damage to some of those glass sculptures, they seemed to have stood up pretty well," Finfrock noted. "At this point we don't see any catastrophic damage."
In an interview in May, Chihuly expressed concern about exactly this kind of weather. "We've never dealt with golf-ball-sized hail, so that's the only thing I'm worried about," he said.
UPDATE: The lilypads have been repaired.
Thanks to Bud Kennedy.
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