Art in Bloom at the MFA

From peonies to poinsettias, local floral designers will fuse fine art and flowers for this year’s Museum of Fine Arts Art in Bloom series. The 42nd annual event, which pairs art from across the museum’s collection, with floral interpretations created by New England-area garden clubs, will begin with an evening preview from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday.

While much of the event will revolve around works of art like John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark and Zhang Wang’s Artificial Rock, daily events will run through Monday, including gallery tours of the flower arrangements; demonstrations of floral arranging for the home; and outdoor walking tours. The series, which will feature floral arrangements done by The Garden Club of the Back Bay and the Community Club of Duxbury, will also include annual event favorites like Community Day, which will feature children’s activities on Sunday.

New to the event this year is the Art in Bloom Café, where attendees can enjoy masterpieces of Europe along with light fare from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday in the Koch Gallery. With a variety of ways to become involved with Art in Bloom, Sue O’Brien, chair of the event, is excited about the many floral interpretations that cross a multitude of mediums, including sculpture, jewelry, textile and musical instruments. “In terms of design, there are no constraints so it’s amazing to see how the artwork inspires garden clubs in different ways,” says O’Brien. “Some may create more literal interpretations of the entire artwork, while others may play with a single theme within the artwork.”

Because of the many art and flower lovers throughout New England, O’Brien says Art in Bloom, has become one of the museum’s most popular events, despite its humble beginnings. Developed by Chuck Thomas, the museum’s former director of membership, O’Brien says the event was originally planned for a one-time installation. “The thought was that Art in Bloom would draw more visitors into the museum and it did,” O’Brien says. “And now it’s an event that is celebrated in museums, libraries and organizations throughout the world.”

The series has also caught on within the flower industry, and each year, roughly 225 garden clubs are invited to participate. Because of the diverse range of talent that exists throughout the region, O’Brien says attendees can celebrate the return of spring with an endless amount of creative art and floral combinations.  “We hope visitors will leave with a new and broadened appreciation of how to view and interpret art,” she says. “We also hope that Art in Bloom draws visitors’ attention to parts of the museum that they may not have otherwise seen.”

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