For four days every year, flowers sprout up throughout the Phoenix Art Museum. Okay, they don’t literally sprout. But fresh flowers do appear one Thursday afternoon.
Leading up to the Arts & Flowers event, floral designers create works of art from natural materials – flowers, tree boughs, baskets, stones, and even vegetables. Each piece is inspired by and in response to a work in the museum’s collection. This year also included a floral couture show (Savage Botanicals) and a bonsai exhibit.
I’d originally heard about it from my friend Karin, who has participated the last few years, but I just hadn’t made it over there. So I was excited when my Craft Hack group decided to go during Phoenix First Friday. There’s nothing like having a set time and people to meet to actually get you to go somewhere.
I took the light rail over and met the group at the cafe just as they were finishing up there. Then we started winding our way through the museum, enjoying all the Arts, but also scanning for the & Flowers like we were on safari.
Some of them were very literal interpretations of the original work, others more abstractly captured a certain aspect of it. There was also this interesting contrast between the solid permanence of the paintings, ceramics, and sculpture – some which had lasted centuries – and the organic and ephemeral nature of the arrangements, which could only exist for a matter of days.
I did my best taking a few photos, but it was tricky to get good ones with the lighting, crowds, etc. If you want to see more photos, my friend Eileen posted a bunch on Facebook, or you can check out the Instagram hashtag #artsflowers14.
Phillip had planned to meet us after work. By the time he got there and found parking, we were on the second floor. I’ve been to the Phoenix Art Museum several times, but not often enough to ever remember that there are two parts to the second floor, and they don’t connect. It’s a statement on our modern digital lives and the disconnect with past generations – or some artsy reason like that probably. I actually have no idea why the place is so hard to navigate, so I made that up.
Anyway, while I’m on the phone with him, wandering around, trying to figure out where he is, I totally lose the group. I finally flag down a guy in a museum polo, who explains how to get him to where I was. The Craft Hackers probably thought I ditched them for my man. I love Phillip, but that was not my intention. I’m not a ditcher. I am, however, pretty good at getting lost. (Have I mentioned that here before? That could be a post of its own. Maybe more than one. I’m adding a getting lost tag now.)
So I showed Phillip the highlights of my wing of the second floor. I said hello to Karin for the second time that evening and spent more time checking out the details of her miniature Italian garden. Then we worked our way over to the second second floor, where there didn’t seem to be any flowers.
We did find more in the Asian collection on the first floor. We also talked with a couple more of the floral artists. They were eager to chat about their work and answer questions.
Around this time, we decided we really needed food. We’d checked out the menu of the museum ahead of time, and it had some solid, clearly marked gluten-free options. The thing we didn’t realize is they close at 8:30 pm, but they stop serving food at 8:00. From 8-8:30 (when we got there), you can only order drinks and prepackaged cookies. Sad trombone.
We wrapped up at the museum, and then finished off the evening at Pita Jungle, which is open until 11pm on First Fridays, has reverse happy hour starting at 9, and is awesome with dietary restrictions and substitutions. (They’re not paying me to talk about them. I was just super excited to finally eat!)
Anyway, I do wish a few things had gone differently. That’s life, though. It’s not perfect. But any evening that starts with friends, flowers, and an art museum, and ends with my husband, a plate of hummus, and perfect patio weather is not a bad one in my book.
P.S. If you’d like a heads up on awesome cultural events like this, that’s exactly the kind of thing that goes into our new monthly newsletter. You could have even met up with us at the museum for this! And then I could’ve lost you while I was looking for Phillip. See? Fun times!
You can sign up on the sidebar on the right or on our newsletter page.
Things to know about visiting Phoenix Art Museum:
- Photos are allowed (without flash).
- First Friday evenings are always free, so they’re especially crowded.
- Parking can be a hassle during big events. The light rail is your friend. (Post on this coming soon!) There’s a stop across the street from the museum.
- Check the museum’s events calendar to find out what’s going on when you’d like to go. If we’d had time, we could have also bought tickets to see the Hollywood Costume exhibition, which was going on at the same time. Or you might choose to avoid big events and go when it’s less crowded.
- The museum restaurant, Palette, has a menu that includes gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options, but they close before the museum and may stop serving food earlier.
- The upper floors are in 2 separate wings that don’t connect. Walking from the North Wing to the South Wing on the second floor/upper level is not a thing you can do.
- During Arts & Flowers there are tons of museum staff (or are they volunteers?) around, and they are super helpful!