Spring is here at the Grand Rapids Art Museum with ‘Art in Bloom’ Exhibit

Allison Rafferty

This year, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) hosted a floral exhibition, “Art in

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Bloom,” for the ninth time. 

Held from March 19-21, the event celebrated the combined beauty of art and floral design while highlighting the creativity of West Michigan’s most talented floral designers.

GRAM’s Communications Manager, Elizabeth Payne, said the museum was thrilled to kick off the spring season with this exhibition. 

“We looked forward to safely welcoming guests to Grand Rapids Art Museum’s galleries and encouraged everyone to participate in a weekend of floral-inspired fun through our virtual and in-person experiences,” said Payne. 

The 14 floral sculptures featured in “Art in Bloom” were created by floral designers from across West Michigan including Douglas Bates from Designs by Vogt’s, Renae Buning from Alice Hatch Floral, and more.

Each sculpture was based on permanent artwork featured in the museum. The curatorial team assigned pieces of art to the floral designers who then created floral arrangements based on that artwork. 

Payne said much thought was put into choosing which artwork to base each sculpture on.

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

“(The curatorial team) ensures a diverse selection of artwork is represented in ‘Art in Bloom’ so visitors will see a wide variety of paintings, sculpture, mixed media, and even design objects represented at GRAM,” said Payne. 

GRAM’s website explained, “the floral sculptures emphasize, challenge, and build upon elements and concepts within the original work of art, creating an extraordinary dialogue between the two pieces.”

Guests who are uncomfortable attending in-person events were still given the opportunity to experience some of “Art in Bloom” from home with special virtual showings. 

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday there was a virtual floral demonstration with past “Art in Bloom” winner, Alyssa Ferguson of Fleurology Designs. During the segment, Ferguson demonstrated her unique approach to floral design for guests. 

The floral demonstration was a great opportunity to get floral arranging tips from the comfort of your own home,” said Payne.

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

“Art in Bloom” also featured a juried award as well as a public award for the top floral pieces. Guests were able to pick up a voting ballot at the front desk, and then cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award after viewing the exhibition in the museum’s Level Three galleries. 

This year, the announcements were live-streamed on Facebook for all to see. 

For those who did attend the exhibition in person, new visitor guidelines in place included face mask requirements, limited capacity, and social distancing measures. 

Despite the need for these new safety protocols, Payne was happy to have been able to welcome guests once again for a well-loved exhibition. 

Visitors could expect the ‘Art in Bloom’ experience they’ve come to love and look forward to at GRAM, with a few changes for everyone’s safety,” said Payne.