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Sunday October 26th 2014

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Art (and Flowers) In Bloom

By Jennie McKeon

It’s Spring not just when the equinox arrives or when temperatures start to warm, but it’s also when the Pensacola Museum of Art holds its annual Art In Bloom.

Every year Art In Bloom evolves and changes offering local art lovers a different experience. This year the event brings back the outdoor flower market, which was missing last year, and invites special guest, Lulu Powers, a best-selling author and entertaining designer.  Each event draws from both her book, “Food to Flowers,” and her real-life experiences with numerous Hollywood celebrities.

“She’s our star,” said Pensacola Museum of Art Executive Director, Sonya Davis. “She’ll be with us starting Thursday night at the Preview Gala and will participate during lectures on her entertaining and lifestyle wisdom all the way through Saturday afternoon when she co-hosts the Bloomin’ Chef event.”

Powers’ clients include Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, Madonna, Bill Clinton and Arianna Huffington just to name a few. Powers can’t pinpoint when exactly she realized that she had an eye for style. Entertaining was a part of her childhood.

“It’s all in the presentation,” she said.

Powers said her mother, a caterer, always had flowers on the dinner table. And there were never any paper plates.

“They didn’t like paper,” Powers said of her parents. “My dad couldn’t stand drinking out of a paper cup.”

Powers describes her entertaining style as “colorful with a lot of flair.” She doesn’t have any strict guidelines.

“It never hurts to do anything,” Powers said. “There are no rules.”

Transform to Lifestyle Event

Powers’ knack for entertaining has transformed the Art In Bloom event to a three-day festival that features more than traditional art.

“Art In Bloom has really evolved this year into a lifestyle event,” said Davis. “A big addition this year is a farmers market to the outdoor street market area. That will be a tie-in to the other addition this year, which is food.”

Art In Bloom kick-offs with the Art In Bloom Gala on Thursday, March 22 from 6 to 7 p.m. with an open bar.  From 7 to 10 p.m., festivities include appetizers, music, dancing and a book signing with Powers. Tickets for Thursday are $100 per person.

On Friday, March 23, participants can practically spend the whole day with Powers. The day starts at 9 a.m. with Powers’ “Food to Flowers” lecture about stress-free entertaining in the Pensacola Little Theatre courtroom. Tickets are $55 per person.  At 11:30 a.m., there is a brunch with Powers catered by Classic City Catering. There’s limited seating and tickets are $65 per person. After brunch, Powers has a book signing, followed by her “From Buckets to Bouquets” presentation at 2:30 p.m., with the assistance of Shannon Pallin, which focuses on the art of floral design. Tickets are $30 person. To attend all the Friday events, purchase an all-day pass for $130.

On Saturday, March 24, Powers has her “From the Farm to the Table” question-and-answer session with a panel of local growers at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $55 per person. At 12 p.m., Jackson’s hosts a lunch with Powers that features food from local growers. Tickets are $45 per person and a book signing follows immediately.

Art In Bloom caps off its festivities with the Blooming Chef demonstration with Powers and Carmela Campbell, which starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person. An all-day Saturday pass is $110. The Flower Market is open to the public on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For those who don’t have the time for all three days and can only choose one event to attend, Davis suggests Powers’ “Food to Flowers” lecture.

“Her talk will give a good look at the whole gracious, easy entertaining picture,” she said. “If you’re into flowers, food and entertaining, this will cover it all.”

Support the PMA
The Art In Bloom events are not only fun. The proceeds support the Pensacola Museum of Art.

“As a non-profit organization, the museum looks to fundraising proceeds to support exhibitions and education along with contributing to general operations, since museum memberships and admissions make up only a very small part of our revenue each year,” Davis said.

Art In Bloom gives locals the chance to see nature and its artistic beauty through a different lens.

“Flowers are components that can be used in the creative process and just like paints can be used to combine color and texture and shape—those very same formal elements of art found in     other traditional art work,” Davis said. “In Art In Bloom, the floral artists who participate take their flowers and, inspired by a piece of art chosen from the Museum’s exhibition, create their own masterpieces of floral design.”

While it might be hard to pack all the food, flowers and design into one weekend, Art In Bloom is a wonderful way to welcome spring and to stop and smell the roses.

ART IN BLOOM
WHEN: Art In Bloom Gala, 6 p.m. Thursday, March 22,
Art In Bloom, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24
WHERE: Pensacola Museum of Art, 407 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $30-$100 per event, all-day passes available
DETAILS:  pensacolamuseumofart.org or 432-6247