News / Winnipeg

'The power of a flower': Art in Bloom sprouts new life at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Twenty years after it last graced the gallery, the all-natural exhibit is back in conjunction with Earth Day.

Hennie Corrin and Hazel Borys are co-chairs of the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Art in Bloom event, running Friday through Sunday.

Shannon Van Raes/For Metro

Hennie Corrin and Hazel Borys are co-chairs of the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Art in Bloom event, running Friday through Sunday.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is revisiting a nature-based exhibit this weekend that’s been pushing up daisies for the past 20 years.

Art in Bloom features 60 floral arrangements inspired by works from the gallery’s permanent collection. Students, seniors, local businesses and kids have all chipped in their planted handiworks, which will be featured alongside a massive, moss-covered living wall.

Nearly five metres tall and about 13.5 metres wide, the wall is the single largest undertaking so far for Virginia-based floral designer Holly Heider Chapple, who flew in for the event.

Chapple—who was chosen as one of Martha Stewart’s favourite floral designers in the U.S.—taught 20 locals how to build the contraption, which features 20,000 stems.

"This needs to last for four days, so we tried to pick elements that will hold throughout the whole event so that they won’t have to continue to water the installation," she explained.

Those contributing floral interpretations to Art in Bloom had to sign 10 to 12 page contracts stating they wouldn’t use soil, sharp objects or bring bugs into the gallery either, said co-chair Hazel Borys.

The WAG board opted to bring back Art in Bloom in conjunction with Earth Day.

Once the exhibit is through, bulbs from the living wall will be replanted around Winnipeg and leftover flowers can be donated to Floral Philanthropy, another of co-chair Hennie Corrin’s projects.

Over the last eight years, Floral Philanthropy has picked up flowers from corporate gatherings, weddings and other major events, then redelivered them to nursing homes, soup kitchens, hospitals and more.

"There’s no wrong place. Nobody’s ever said, 'Oh no, we don’t want your flowers,'" Corrin said.

Floral Philanthropy charges a minimum $100 pickup fee and all the money is donated to Winnipeg Harvest—more than $100,000 so far, Corrin said.

"It's the power of a flower. If somebody gives you a flower just because, it’s pretty powerful. And it doesn’t have to be that," she said, pointing to an elaborate rose bouquet. "If you were to get one of those roses, it makes you feel good."

"(Art in Bloom) is about the health and wellness benefits that flowers and art can provide," said Corrin. "And it’s not a pill, it’s not a quick fix. But you come in, you look at flowers, you look at art and you feel better."

Art in Bloom will also have a pop-up flower shop where patrons can buy blooms and vases. The event runs until Sunday at 5 p.m.

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