Florals illuminate art and beauty

By Noelle Ullery | Staff Writer

Cincinnati Art Museum’s exhibit “Art in Bloom” combined beautiful floral arrangements with showcases of different artworks. The symbolism of the flowers enhanced the meaning and experience of these works of art.

After driving around for ten minutes to find a parking spot, I was curious to see if it was the “Art in Bloom” exhibit that was drawing in the crowd on a Friday afternoon. My friend and I walked up a long, steep hill and entered the pristine Cincinnati Art Museum to quickly learn that the primary demographic on that day was white, older women. Neither of us fit that category, but we still enjoyed the exhibit.

            According to the website, the theme of Art in Bloom was LIGHT. I admit that I did not know what to expect, but how would light tie in with floral arrangements? Before I could worry about the meaning behind the floral displays, my friend and I first had to find where the exhibit was located.

We wandered aimlessly on the main floor, seeking vases and flowers but instead finding ancient art exhibits. Without the floral arrangements, there were few people in these exhibits. It brought a quiet, serene environment compared to the busy, vibrant lobby. I realized that the crowded parking lot was because of the Art in Bloom exhibit. What was all the hype about, and where were these flowers?

Eventually, we found our way to the Great Hall, a wide, open space that advertised the Art in Bloom exhibit. After asking an employee if the exhibit was scattered throughout the museum or if it was designated for a specific room, we learned that Art in Bloom was throughout the museum. It was purposely designed to encourage visitors to walk through the rest of the building and see how different floral arrangements can represent artwork throughout various time periods.

We headed to the second floor, and as we traveled up the grand staircase, the noise level dramatically increased. It was evident that the majority of people at the museum were on the second floor to see Art in Bloom. When I reached the top, I was greeted by a vase full of flowers located in the exhibit of American art. Full of pink stargazer lilies blue roses, and purple iris, the flowers complemented the Jennie W. Mitchell Memorial Window well. The artwork, a stained-glass window that illuminated Mary, was created to inspire us to look up to God and our ancestors for guidance.

Each floral arrangement had a statement of intent, explaining the meaning or relation to the artwork. One floral display that caught my eye was dedicated to our mothers and grandmothers, who light our way every day. Delicately placed in a blue mosaic vase, the flowers symbolized the differences in ***

While this religious art piece aligned with the light theme perfectly, other floral arrangements echoed the theme in different sentiments. A display of white and peach roses encompassed the surrounding eucalyptus, greens and smokebush, which embodied the “Fog on Guernsey” art piece. The cascading arrangement enhanced the painting’s lighter hues, highlighting the brightness of the piece.

Despite the hassle of finding exhibit pieces as I walked around the museum, the layout of the exhibit reinforced the theme of light. Light can be bright or dim, and its experience is dependent on each person. Meandering throughout the museum allowed visitors to have enough time to interpret the arrangements themselves until they came upon another floral display. The variety of flowers, colors and designs provided something for everyone to see, even if there was a certain demographic on that Friday afternoon.