Every spring, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) presents a special festival called Art in Bloom, where florists from across the state create intricate and elaborate arrangements based on select pieces inhabiting the West building. Art in Bloom was canceled in 2020, and this year, NCMA has aptly named the festival “Back in Bloom.” In order to maintain COVID-19 safety standards, accommodate crowds and make up for last year’s missed festival, NCMA has extended this event to two weekends, the first being June 3-6 and the second June 10-13. I visited “Back in Bloom'' on June 4 and have detailed and explained some of my favorite arrangements below.
Arranged by Margaret Knox; inspired by The Adoration of the Shepherds by Jacob Jaeordans
This piece is one of the first arrangements you see when entering the main galleries of the West building. The painting that inspired this arrangement is called The Adoration of the Shepherds, which depicts the birth of Jesus. Isolated blue flowers grace the left of the bouquet to symbolize the signature robe of Mary, where most of the light is focused on her and baby Jesus. The rest of the painting is somewhat dark and shadowed, yet dramatic in typical Baroque style. Maroon and orange flowers fill in the remainder of the bouquet with no less drama than the original painting. This was one of my favorite arrangements of the entire festival for both simplicity and the relation to its inspiration.
Arranged by Julie Settle-Mitchell; inspired by Funerary Vase
I also enjoyed this arrangement because of its direct similarity to its inspiration. The original piece is a funerary vase from around 250-225 B.C.E. in Sicily. The paintings on the vase are very faded, but I appreciate that the florist used this as part of their bouquet and made a light pink and green arrangement that looks like it could find its home in any kitchen or living room. Additionally, the grass-like spires at the top of the arrangement elegantly mimic the top of the vase, which is classically ornate.
Arranged by Vicki Thompson; inspired by Landscape in Ecuador by Louis Rémy Mignot
Landscape in Ecuador is one of my favorite pieces to admire when I regularly visit NCMA, and I loved seeing a florist’s interpretation of this piece. Lily grass is used on the left of the arrangement to recreate the palm tree seen in the painting. I also love how the flowers protruding from the frame bring this piece of art to life, allowing you to almost feel the clear tropical air of the rainforest. Although the lighting in this painting has the golden glow of a sunset or sunrise, I do wish that the floral arrangement included some light blue to reflect either the lake or the sky. Overall, I’m very impressed and amazed at this interpretation of one of my favorite paintings.
Arranged by Christopher Batts
The last piece that I will review is called A Prideful Place, and it is not based on a painting in NCMA. This piece is an installment for Pride Month, which takes place in June. The minimalist incorporation of the pride flag makes this arrangement ultra modern and it blends in seamlessly with not only the arrangements around it, but the other classical paintings in the room.
I would highly recommend stopping to smell the roses at “Back in Bloom” as a way to see and interpret your favorite pieces of art in a new way.
By Ally Cefalu, A&E Editor