Art Blooms in Natick
Natick Garden Club committee chairs for Natick’s Art in Bloom Monica Foley, Elizabeth Carroll, Donna Thibault having fun at the selfie station!
By Jacqui Morton
Morse Institute’s Liebowitz Hall came alive with art, flowers, music, and community as more than 500 people attended Art in Bloom over a beautiful spring weekend in May.
The exhibit, a collaboration between the Natick Garden Club, Natick Art Association and the Natick Center Cultural District, was funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Natick Garden Club.
The organizations share a commitment to making cultural and creative experiences accessible to the community. Furthering the spirit of collaboration with Art in Bloom, the Free Little Art Gallery in front of the Morse Institute showcased floral art the week before the exhibit and had a table set up during the event with art activities. Art in Bloom was first introduced last year and held outside. “We loved that, but the outdoors presented weather challenges, so we decided to move the event to an indoor space this year,” Elizabeth Carroll, a past president of the Natick Garden Club and one of the Art in Bloom organizers, shares.
As visitors entered the exhibit on the Library’s lower level, they found a garden scene backdrop and props welcoming a stop at the selfie station. A guitar played by Scott Matsumoto helped set a delightful tone for attendees to mingle with each other and with works of art, representing a range of mediums, each paired with a floral arrangement created in inspiration. As in, two works of art joining in a conversation.
Around the room, a total of 15 pieces of art were placed with their accompanying floral arrangements, created by 14 floral designers from the Natick Garden Club, some working in pairs or groups. One designer was a guest from the Natick Art Association and one was a professional floral designer from Framingham, who gave a talk on sustainable floral design as part of the first day’s program. Each combination of art and floral arrangement was accompanied by a write-up. An article on paper will not capture the beauty of this exhibit the way each floral arrangement reflected the essence of its partner piece. It felt like being in an art museum and an upscale flower shop at the same time.
Art and flowers filled the hall, but there had been 46 submitted pieces of art for the Garden Club to choose from, including sculpture, blown glass, watercolors, mosaic, oil paintings and photography, Elizabeth reflected. “I wish we could have done a floral arrangement for every piece! It was fantastic to have so many works of art submitted, and it shows how much depth there is in the Natick Art Association,” she said.
Artist Janis Luedke submitted a collage, titled “Bird Song,” that was inspired by her cat’s interest in the pieces of paper she was using. “Shadow would grab the paper in her paws, tear off little pieces with her teeth, and spit them out. As I cleaned up, it occurred to me that I should do something with them. I created a series which is reminiscent of the walks we take together in the yard.”
Floral designers for Art in Bloom had one guideline which was that their arrangement had to fit in their car and the elevator of the library, to be delivered to the library Friday afternoon. Of the arrangement created in response to “Bird Song,” Janis says, “I was delighted to see the Garden Club really picked up on the mosaic theme and found a vase which closely resembled my art piece in which to build their fabulous flower display. The bouquet included a Bird of Paradise and blue macaw feathers.”
The Garden Club has long brought much beauty to the Town of Natick. For 23 years and in all four seasons, they have been planting and maintaining approximately 50 planters in the Town’s center, on merchant buildings, and in storefronts. And while Art in Bloom was a special event, Garden Club members are frequent visitors of the Morse Institute, where they plant and maintain the Library’s outdoor planters and pollinator garden, care for the indoor plants, and create the Giving Tree each holiday season.
Their stewardship of the community is demonstrated well beyond even the plants and flowers they nurture, providing two scholarships every year. “This year we are excited to be presenting one to a Natick High School Student and one to a Keefe Tech student,” Ms. Carroll wrote to me after we got to meet at the Library.
The Garden Club will be hosting their Plant Sale, their annual fundraiser, on June 4th. All are invited to visit the sale from 10am to 2pm at the Natick Community Senior Center to support the Garden Club and take home beautiful plants.