The Hippo


Jul 22, 2019








Interpretation from a past year’s “Art and Bloom” exhibition. Courtesy photo.

 “Art and Bloom”

Where: McGowan Fine Art, 10 Hills Ave., Concord
When: Jan. 23 through Jan. 25
Reception: Thursday, Jan. 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Contact: 225-2515,

How do you build art from flowers?
“Art and Bloom” designers offer tips

By Kelly Sennott

 McGowan Fine Art’s “Art and Bloom” will brighten (and scent) the Concord gallery next weekend, Jan. 23 through Jan. 25, bringing a bit of spring to the middle of winter.

“We see it as an opportunity to connect with the community at a time when New Hampshire can be very cold and very bleak,” Judith Maloy, vice president of the Concord Garden Club, said over the phone. “It’s a nice, bright spot during the otherwise mid-winter blues.”
Members of the Concord Garden Club have been creating floral arrangements inspired by artwork in this annual exhibition for about 12 years now, only the past several of which were spent at McGowan. The exhibition originators nicked the idea from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ “Art in Bloom,” which traditionally happens during the springtime. This Concord show ties in the art by the local and regional artists who show through McGowan.
“We select the artwork here in the gallery, the pieces that we’re excited about or the ones that we think florists might have fun interpreting. Then, the florists and the designers come in, go through the gallery and choose what they’d like to work from,” Jessica Pappathan of McGowan Fine Art said in a phone interview. 
Because of most flowers’ short shelf life, the designers have a brief amount of time to get their pieces together. At the time of the interviews, most of the 15 or so florists were only just beginning to choose the pieces at McGown they’d interpret.
That in itself can be challenging; you have to decide, very quickly, how to conceptualize a piece of art, and after you choose, you need to then see what flowers are available. 
“What you make will depend on the art, but it’s also somewhat guided by what’s available in January. The florists are wonderful in helping, whether it’s Cobblestone [Cobblestone Design Company] or McLeod’s [D McLeod Florist], but they’ll order almost anything we ask,” said Judy Mathews, who at the time of the call had yet to pick out her artistic inspiration. “This is one of the slower months for local florists, and so it’s one of the months they’re more available to help, while they have some downtime and want to get involved and participate.”
The regular creators all go about it in different ways.
“It’s so varied. … Some of the florists like to think about color, about shape or movement. Some look at the subject very literally. Others use it in a more abstract, conceptual way,” Pappathan said.
Concord Garden Club member Susan Heinecke picked out an abstract piece, full of color, to interpret shortly before her phone interview. This is her fourth exhibition, and she’s caught on to a trend in her artistic choices. 
“I tend to pick abstract pieces,” Heinecke said. “I prefer creating from geometric, colorful pieces over things like landscape paintings.” 
The reason, she said, is because she’s less focused on what the piece is representing and more on what it actually looks like. 
“I’ve got some ideas of what I’ll make,” she said. “I don’t know exactly what flowers I’ll use just yet. I’ll go to Cobblestone and ask what’s available. I’m thinking of using round flowers because of the shapes in this piece.”
It’s one of the biggest events for the Concord Garden Club and always one of the most well-attended of those at McGowan, Pappathan said. Perhaps part of it has to do with the other senses that are invoked within the gallery — it always smells amazing, she said, during the event — but more likely, it’s to do with the enthusiastic members. 
“This has been a community event sponsored by the Concord Garden Club for the last 12 years. It’s moved to different venues — the first year it was at the Hopkinton Public Library — and it’s expanded,” Maloy said. “It’s an event that’s a highlight for our members.” 
As seen in the January 16th, 2014 issue of The Hippo

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