MFA Art Paired With Botony
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, celebrated the last weekend of April in colorful and fragrant fashion with its 36th annual Art in Bloom event. This “celebration of fine art and fresh flowers,” which kicked off Saturday and ran through Monday, showcased 70 floral arrangements inspired by and designed to accompany various works of art throughout the museum’s 53 galleries. Stylistically, this year’s exhibition emphasized modern arrangements, drawing visitors to the MFA’s new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.
Local garden clubs and professional floral designers worked diligently to create arrangements to complement their assigned art piece, which was a time consuming, constant process. Participants needed to frequently check on and freshen their arrangements so the flowers would endure the day. Nonetheless, participants enjoyed their role in sprucing up the MFA’s galleries, viewing their peers’ creations and picking up tips along the way.
Art in Bloom began on Saturday, April 28, with Family Day, which featured art-making programs and activities for kids. Young visitors were also treated to a visit from “Sidewalk Sam,” the moniker bestowed upon Robert Guillemin, the famous local sidewalk artist and Boston College undergraduate student of art (1958-1959). Guillemin surely inspired the the budding artists in attendance, just as he inspires the pedestrians of Boston’s well-traveled streets with his artistic talents.
The weekend-long event included tours, demonstrations, and classes, in addition to an “Elegant Tea” setup in the Art of Europe wing. Guided tours ran each day, one of which specifically focused on the sculpture and gardens surrounding the MFA. This outdoor walking tour not only made stops at the MFA’s serene Japanese Garden and the neighboring Back Bay fens, but also highlighted the architecture of the museum building itself and the sculptures that dot the grounds around it.
Floral design demonstrations held throughout the MFA catered to both beginner and novice arrangers. The Ikebana Floral Demonstration taught the strict and formal art of Japanese flower arrangement according the Ohara, Ikenobo, and Sogestu schools of Ikebana. For those who were looking for something more casual, the Home Floral Demonstration simply encouraged participants to brighten up their homes with various flower arrangements and designs. Those interested in getting an early start could purchase flowers and plants from the MFA’s flower cart.
World-renowned British floral designer Paula Pryke headlined the demonstrations that attracted the biggest crowds. Her innovative and elaborate designs have caught the attention of celebrities, film set designers, and even royalty. Since 1994, Pryke has run an internationally recognized flower school, and she was the head judge at this year’s Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif. She has written 14 best-selling books on her field.
The “Paula Pryke Master Class,” a two-hour hands-on floral arranging class, held both Saturday and Sunday, sold out instantly with tickets priced at $200. On Monday, Pryke instructed another sold-out class, titled “Cutting Edge Floral Design,” which was appropriate for novice and expert-level floral arrangers. Pryke later held a book signing to celebrate the release of her newest book, Flowers Every Day, published in February 2012. Pryke’s guest appearance certainly helped make the MFA’s spring tradition a success.