'Art in Bloom' heralds spring

Sunday, March 9, 2008 | 8:52 p.m. CDT; updated 4:48 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A floral design by Judy Pursifull of Unique Designs in Fulton sits next to a sculpture titled "Bathing Nymphs" by Johann von Halbig in the Museum of Art and Archaeology. The design was part of the "Art in Bloom" exhibit on Sunday, which challenged local florists to design floral arrangements inspired by artworks in the museum's permanent collection.

The scent of roses, lilies and other flowers took over the Museum of Art and Archeology this weekend for the fourth year of Columbia’s “Art in Bloom” showcase. The second floor of the museum displayed 18 different floral arrangements that were based on or inspired by pieces of art in the museum and that were created by florists from Columbia, Fulton, St. Louis and Jefferson City.

Bruce Cox, assistant director for the museum, said the florists were hand-picked and invited to participate in the event and show off their talents.


First Place Best in Show: Judy Pursifull, Unique Designs, Fulton First Place Best Creative Design: Darla Manley, Allen’s Flowers, Columbia First Place Best Design that Reflects the Artwork: Marlo Bolinger, April Flowers, Jefferson City First Place Best Use of Colors and Flowers in Color and Variety of Flowers: Jeremy Estes, Kent’s Floral Gallery, Columbia

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A month before the show, the florists were allowed to come to the museum to choose the artwork to inspire their design. Shovels, bamboo and gold wire are just a few things that were incorporated into these elaborate arrangements.

View interactive map of the floral arrangers.

Kent Anderson, the owner of Kent’s Floral Gallery and winner of a past “Best of Show” award, came to this weekend’s event to support some of his employees who had pieces in the show. He said he was impressed with the amount of creativity used in the arrangements.

“It challenges us to make something we see in our minds into that of an art piece,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he and his staff take turns entering the competition. This year, Kent’s Floral Gallery employee Jeremy Estes won first place for “Best Use of Colors and Flowers.” “Art in Bloom” events take place in several cities across the country in the spring in order to give florists a creative outlet for their work. In 2004, the Museum of Art and Archeology decided to hold an event of their own. The response was so good that it became an annual event, Cox said.

“This is different than what is being done in big cities,” Anderson said. “We get to pick out our own pieces, unlike there, where you are given a piece to work off of. There are no parameters (in Columbia), just design.”

Throughout the weekend, the public was allowed to walk through the exhibits and vote on their favorite designs. The four categories were: Best Design that Reflects the Artwork, Best Use in Color and Variety of Flowers, Best in Creative Design, and Best in Show.

When looking for the piece that she would pick as “Best in Show,” Langdon said she tried to find a design that best represented the artwork it was based on. In the end, her vote went to designer Diana Hartmann of the Gerbes Supermarket Floral Department in Columbia.

Other activities available included a presentation on gardening, a demonstration in floral china painting and drawing botanicals. Master Gardener Marie Paisley gave a presentation on how to design your own landscape and answered questions about light, color and how to keep deer out of your garden.

“I love it (Art in Bloom). It adds a whole different aspect of art. A regular person can come here, take away something that they can do at home,” Paisley said. The show has gotten bigger and more popular every year, Cox said. “Last year we had about 650 people come through during the weekend. People are starting to look for it now.”

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