08/24/2011 01:13 am ET | Updated Oct 24, 2011

Largest Dale Chihuly Glass Art Exhibit In The World Breaks Ground In Seattle (PHOTOS)

Today the world's largest largest Dale Chihuly exhibit broke ground at the Seattle Center with 4,500 sculpture installation.

According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the 69 year old Chihuly said, "It's the most important day of my career." The Post Intelligencer continues, "Clad in red and black with paint-splattered sneakers, Chihuly offered a quick sketch of his project but was otherwise a man of few words."

The exhibition, called "Chihuly Garden and Glass" is to take up a 1.5 acres of the Seattle Center and is slated to open in the spring of 2012, in a space previously occupied by Fun Forest Amusement Park.

The director of the Seattle Center Robert Nellam said that "This is truly a gift to our city [...] Seattle Center is about delighting, inspiring and bringing people together...This project will help us to do that."

In Chihuly's own words, the exhibit will consist of, “9 exhibition rooms and each room will have anywhere from one to 25 pieces in it. Then they’ll be small and large installations in the garden. The crowning piece will be the large sculpture in the glass house. It’ll be a piece that takes up 4500 sq feet. It’ll be the largest single sculpture I’ve ever made.”

The show is projected to bring in 400,000 visitors and $1.1 million for Seattle, a boon for the financially troubled city in difficult economic times.

According to the press release: "The project has... partnered with several local non-profit organizations including Pratt Fine Arts Center, Pilchuck Glass School, and ArtsFund, as well as the Seattle Public Schools. One of the project's primary goals is to further arts education and arts engagement for youth and adults within the Seattle and Northwest community."

Jeff Wright, Chairman of the Space Needle stated,

This project reminds me, in some ways, of the Space Needle and the effort that my father and his partners made to create a symbol for the city and to open in time for the World's Fair. We have an exciting design and many of the same companies who worked on the Space Needle project are working today to complete this new world-class attraction in time to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. I am very proud to be a part of this spectacular display of Dale's work.

NPR local wrote that the project had previously, "faced strong opposition for being just another privately owned business at the center. But projections of more than a million dollars a year in revenue, convinced the City Council to back the project."

See a selection of Chihuly's art below.

dale chihuly slide show