Saturday, February 23, 2013

New York in Bloom 2013, part one

New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual fundraiser for its after-school programs, is being held this weekend.  Those of you who have been following this blog for a bit know that I'm a huge fan of this event, which brings some much-needed color and fragrance to a bleak month.  When it arrives, I stop blogging about records, digital preservation, and archives for a few days and devote a couple of days to writing about flowers and the exhibits created by my employer's sister institution. 

Those of you who know about New York in Bloom may also know that the Museum Club (8-13 years old) and Discovery Squad (14-18 years old) have given invaluable educational, social, and vocational support to young people from some of Albany's most hardscrabble neighborhoods.  Each and every Discovery Squad student has graduated from high school -- no small accomplishment given that Albany High School's 2011 graduation rate was an appalling 52.3 percent -- and 92 percent have been admitted to college.  If you're going to be in the Albany area tomorrow, please consider attending New York in Bloom and supporting these fine programs.

This is the fourth year I've blogged about New York in Bloom, and I have to say that the floral arrangements, which are created by floral designers, students, garden clubs, and individual hobbyists, are a little less extravagant than in years past.  For example, the Bird Hall, which in past years was home to sextets of mammoth floral roomscapes, is completely devoid of arrangements this year.  However, the stunning "Once Upon a Time" arrangement that David Michael Schmidt of Renaissance Floral Design created for the main lobby of the Cultural Education Center (which houses the State Archives and State Library as well as the State Museum) is one of the lushest and most ornate things I've ever seen.

This fairy tale-themed installation features several artifacts from the State Museum's collections, including a flax wheel made ca. 1830 by R. Werdon.

Note the bitten apple to the left of the "carriage," which is actually a 19th-century glass hearse that was formerly part of a private collection in Greenville, New York.

The glass slipper and gown were created for the now-defunct New York Theater Institute, which used them in several early 21st-century productions.

My photographs of this display really don't do justice to this installation, but this professionally produced video documenting its creation most certainly does.

The State Museum sometimes uses the corridor leading to the West Gallery to exhibit a large artifact or grouping of photographs, but at the moment the corridor is devoid of any exhibit materials.  As a result, the arrangements placed there really pop out.  Holly Hemming of Felthausen's Florist created this very springlike arrangement of liatris, iris, blue hydrangea, button mums, and blue delphinium.

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