Arts & Culture

Petals are being pushed for NC Art Museum’s ‘Art in Bloom’

Amy Wurster of Knots ’N Such in Hillsborough makes one of 60 works of floral art that is on display during the N.C. Museum of Art’s “Art in Bloom” exhibit, which runs Thursday through Sunday in Raleigh.
Amy Wurster of Knots ’N Such in Hillsborough makes one of 60 works of floral art that is on display during the N.C. Museum of Art’s “Art in Bloom” exhibit, which runs Thursday through Sunday in Raleigh. The News & Observer

Running perhaps on equal parts adrenaline and nervous energy, dozens of floral designers from across the state spent Wednesday hauling, building, watering and fussing over the nearly 60 works of floral art that will be on display during the N.C. Museum of Art’s “Art in Bloom” exhibit, which runs Thursday through Sunday in Raleigh.

The event, now in its third year, is the largest annual fundraiser for the museum. The designs are inspired by works in the museum’s permanent collection – paintings, sculptures and statues – and 54 of them will be on display in the museum’s West Building. Two others are located in a non-ticketed area of the East Building.

“There’s a lot of nervous excitement,” said designer Amy Wurster of Knots ’N Such in Hillsborough. Wurster was assigned Thomas Moran’s “Fiercely the red sun descending/Burned his way along the heavens,” a dark oil painting rich with fire-like oranges and golds. Wurster knew right away what she wanted to do.

“I came up with the idea almost immediately,” she said as she moved mini calla lilies around the arrangement, which was suspended from a frame by wire. “I just didn’t know if it would work.”

This is Wurster’s first year participating in “Art in Bloom.”

“Right now there’s nervous excitement,” she said. “It’s lots lots lots of fun, but I’m hoping I do the painting justice. There’s a little bit of pressure – but in a good way.”

The designers are mostly from the Triangle and create the works at their own expense.

For the larger displays, such as “Scarlett Ascended,” created by the team at The English Garden in Raleigh, the financial investment can be significant. Some of the smaller works are transported to the museum nearly fully formed, but others are built from the ground up on site.

“We are so grateful for them,” said Karlie Marlowe, director of marketing for the museum. “Some people are here all day – six to eight hours – building from scratch. And after that, they’re tweaking all the time.”

In addition to the artful displays, “Art in Bloom” also features a fashion show in which the clothing is made of plants and flowers, workshops and trunk shows. There also is a “War of the Roses” showdown in which Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod will battle a professional floral designer to see who can use the flowers in the best way. The event’s special guest is Françoise Weeks, a Belgian flower designer based in Portland, Oregon, and known for her Botanical Haute Couture pieces.

Art in Bloom

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday

Where: N.C. Museum of Art’s West Building, 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh

Cost: $13 for members, $18 for nonmembers, and children 6 and under get in free. There are some free events, including park tours, trunk shows and more.

Info: ncartmuseum.org

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