April 26–29—The annual ‘Art in Bloom’ exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston occurred over last weekend into Monday. ‘Art in Bloom’ brings local florists from garden clubs and professionals in to make an arrangement inspired by a particular piece of art. There were 50 different small florists and 14 professional designers. From Art of the Ancient World to Contemporary, the flowers spanned across the entire museum. The professional designer pieces were located in major hallways and highly trafficked areas, while the flowers influenced by paintings or sculptures were in the garden clubs. This exhibition was the first year containing a “market” with vendors selling glassworks, pottery, jewelry, and a carriage with little succulents and other plants.
After getting tickets, museum visitors were given a packet which explained the different events happening around the museum during the exhibition and where each arrangement was. There were lessons on how to design flowers; a talk from creative director of Van Vliet & Trap Event Design NYC, Remco van Vliet; an outdoor walking tour where it went into the MFA’s architecture, outdoor sculptures and neighboring gardens; and multiple ‘Art in Bloom’ tours of the art and flowers in the galleries. A piece was on a pedestal with a piece of paper with the number of the arrangement, the sponsor, garden club, florists (arranger and assistant arranger) and types of flowers in it.
Walking into the museum was like entering another world. The amount of people was staggering to me—though I do mostly visit at odd hours. Where everything was placed was very well thought out as most of the arrangements were put in popular areas of the MFA; some pieces were set where most people wouldn’t think to enter. Weaving in and out of the galleries was a great game to play. My race to get to all sections before the museum pushed everyone out at 5 p.m. was only slightly stressful—I wanted to get use of my free ticket via the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Talking to other patrons made me realize what I was really experiencing. I asked an elderly woman what she thought of the yearly exhibition, in which she replied: “I think it’s important for people to come in and see these. How we see the world is very different from one another and how all the flowers are, with the paintings, is a part of looking into what other people see.”
While looking at a group of flowers in the Art of Asia and Oceania galleries, a middle-aged woman told me that her mother just left and so she’s taking photos of arrangements she wasn’t able to see. “Oh we come here all the time. She loves all of this; we’ve been going to Art in Bloom for like two years now. She left with my brother but we’ll definitely be coming back next year.”
‘Art in Bloom’ has its roots in Boston where it was started around 45 years ago to increase museum visitations and to spark more interest in the arts for local people. The premise of Art in Bloom has spread all across the United States with museums like the St. Louis Art Museum, The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art, along with many others, participating to welcome the spring season.