Every year, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) urges spring by its annual Art in Bloom festival, when garden clubs and professional designers from across New England create floral arrangements inspired by the MFA’s works of art. The festival brightens up the beloved museum and fills it with an unequaled flower scent emanating from more than 50 bouquets.
Handcrafted flower pieces are inspired by artworks from Ancient Egyptian to Contemporary art, and are usually located throughout the Museum. This past spring, Art in Bloom provided a fresh focus on green practices. A theme for 2017 has not been chosen yet, but we are sure this truly sensorial museum experience will be as impressive as the last year’s event.
Weekend-long festival provides delight for all of our 5 senses – Art in Bloom tours for scenting, outdoor museum architecture tours for SEE-ing, Elegant Tea in the Old Master William I. Koch Gallery for TASTE-ing, opportunity to buy small art-inspired flower arrangements for TOUCH-ing and a beautiful walk in the museum and neighboring gardens for BREATHE-ing. We talked to Ashley Blaimes from the MFA to find out more about Art in Bloom:
How did the festival begin?
Art in Bloom originated at the MFA in 1976 and since then has been replicated at museums throughout the country. The three-day event attracts thousands of visitors each year. It is organized by the Museum’s volunteer group, the MFA Associates, an organization of 75 members formed in 1956, who contribute more than 40,000 volunteer hours to the Museum annually. In addition to presenting this annual event, their activities include funding MFA projects from Art in Bloom proceeds, providing assistance at the Sharf Visitor Center Desk, leading daily gallery tours, creating regional membership outreach programs, organizing events and arranging flowers in the MFA’s public spaces.
How is the artwork chosen, and who decides which artwork can be presented as a flower arrangement at the festival?
The garden clubs are assigned their arrangements by the MFA Associates. They assign 1 work of art to each garden club, so there would be no repetitions.
Art in Bloom provides a new look at the famous artworks; it gives new dimensions to the pieces we all know and love. It is known that the perception of smell consists not only of the sensation of the odors themselves but of the experiences and emotions associated with these sensations. Smells can evoke strong emotional reactions.
Scent experience can become a trigger for appreciating art even more.
Surveys show that many of our likes and dislikes are based purely on emotional associations. Imagine “vanilla” and the thought of a scent has already activated the limbic system, triggering more deep-seated emotional responses.
So when we are talking about art and scents, it is much more than associations off the top of your head. Bouquets, inspired by art, can attract your attention and make you stand a little longer by a painting or a sculpture and can even make you like it even if you didn’t pay attention to it before. MFA allures us with scents and we stay for art. Timeless works meet short-lived floral arrangements, whose scent can become a thread into the deeper realms of art.
Born in Moscow into a theatrical family, Alexandra’s professional path into the art world was inevitable. A passionate art and history enthusiast, Alexandra completed a PhD in American Studies and is now a Research Fellow at the Institute of US…