As the days seem to get colder, we can only hope the first flowers begin to bloom, signaling the arrival of spring. For the North Carolina Museum of Art and its coordinator of programs, Laura Finan, this means Art in Bloom’s fifth year is just right around the corner. For the past five years, Finan has been in charge of curating a group of florists from North Carolina and beyond to interpret a piece of art in the NCMA’s vast collection, turning the piece into a beautifully unique floral display. Art in Bloom offers an opportunity to see the beloved artworks of the NCMA in a wholly different light. Laura Finan sat down with us to discuss what she’s excited about in this year’s Art in Bloom.
What can visitors expect for the fifth Art in Bloom? Any surprises?
This year we’ll have 53 total pedestal interpretations of art. Forty-eight of those will be based on a work of art, and five are just free-form, which are the largest platform pieces in the Museum.
It’s news for many that the designers who participate in Art in Bloom are not all professionals. Many are hobbyists. A few participate in groups. They take turns caring for the design, come up with it together, and share the costs.
This year we present Holly Heider Chapple, known as the Flower Mama. She’s a designer from Virginia who owns and operates Hope Flower Farm. People come from all over to learn from her design process. She’ll offer a presentation on Friday.
Featured floral designer Holly Heider Chapple
What are some of your favorite displays over the years?
I really like the ones that are unexpected. I’ve found that designers see things I don’t normally see. Sometimes I’ll think a piece of art is one-dimensional, but the designer will see it differently. In the first year, Heather Miller won the Director’s Choice ribbon for her interpretation of Rodin's Fallen Caryatid with a Stone, the sculpture with the rock on its shoulder. I thought, “It’s just one big block of bronze; how’s she going to do that?” She took all these beautiful, dark colors and put the flowers in a metallic vase, and I thought that epitomized the concept of not seeing the beauty within. Maybe I didn’t, but she did. I think the ones where people interpret sculptures are what I find most interesting.
Are you excited about any new works of art that will be interpreted this year?
Valencia Oranges, which is new to the American Gallery. I’m curious to see what somebody will do with that because you’re not allowed to use fruit, so I think it’s a challenge to have something that is fruit.
Another is St. Sebastian vs. Tar Baby, which has always been a favorite of mine. This will be the second time it’s been interpreted. I’m curious to see how it’ll differ from the first time. We try not to repeat, but because we are in our fifth year, we’ve repeated some. It is always interesting to see how a fresh set of eyes interprets the same work.
In roughly seven words, describe your excitement for 2019’s Art in Bloom:
See the Museum come alive in flowers.
It’s this sort of living, breathing thing in itself. It smells good, and it feels good. It’s bright and airy, and people are happy.
Jamie Halla is a communications and marketing intern at the NCMA who recently graduated from N.C. State with a degree in English.
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