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Using Their Flowers as Their Words

/ August 24, 2021
I entered through the doorway, in awe because of the sight upon me: a gallery filled with art, including fresh, beautiful bouquets of flowers. Bouquets used to interpret the pieces of art located within the gallery.

After being quarantined for so long, there’s hundreds of people in the gallery walking around admiring the work, such as myself. People speaking to one another, enjoying the beautiful art. Sharing words with the floral designers. Smiling. Laughing. So much joy is felt as the day goes on. An unbelievable scene. Being able to see the floral designers taking one piece of art and interpreting it by making another. Using their flowers as their words. Inspirational.

Being a visitor to Art in Bloom, presented by PNC, was certainly intriguing and breathtaking to say the least. However, I got the opportunity to experience it a bit differently than the average visitor does.

I’m the Marketing and Communications intern for the Museum. And on my very first day on site, I got to go behind the scenes for a sneak peek of Art in Bloom. It was the day floral designers installed their work, as well as a day for the media to visit. I helped with escorting local press and news outlets around in order to interview some of the floral designers, take photos and videos of the event, and more.

That would be a bit nerve-racking for most people, myself included! However, with this opportunity, I was able to see the process of creation for the designers from a pile of flowers to a finished piece, hear their perspective on the artwork they were interpreting, listen to the stories of how they were introduced to the Museum and Art in Bloom, and learn the stories and details behind the art in the Museum collection.

My favorite interpretation was one made by Diane Makgill, a former docent and floral designer who interpreted Forward by Jacob Lawrence. Forward is a painting depicting Harriet Tubman leading a group of enslaved people to freedom. Diane spoke about how she came up with the concept behind her interpretation of the painting, pointing out various color schemes and small details from the image that influenced the creative decisions. Diane had done immense research on Harriet Tubman. Fun fact: Harriet Tubman was an advocate for women’s voting rights. Diane taught me that!

Jacob Lawrence, Forward, 1967, tempera and Masonite on panel, 23 7/8 x 35 15/16 in., Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina

Over the course of the day, I got to hear many stories such as Diane’s, and it gave me a bigger appreciation of the finished installations. By the end of the day, I could look at the pieces and say, “This is why this decision was made” and “this is how much work it took.” I also got a better appreciation for the art itself. My internship at the NCMA has given me a deeper appreciation of the Museum (and flowers!).

Interested in interning at the NCMA? Learn more here.

Luis Medina Jr.
Luis Medina Jr. was a 2021 Marketing and Communications intern at the NCMA.

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