Art Blossoms blooms again over Mother’s Day Weekend

April 27, 2023

Annual exhibition fundraiser takes over the Columbia Museum of Art

The Columbia Museum of Art announces the return of Art Blossoms, a beautifully botanical exhibition experience and museum fundraiser on view Thursday, May 11, through Sunday, May 14. Over four festive days of flowers, fun, and fine art, Art Blossoms showcases a kaleidoscope of fresh floral arrangements — located throughout CMA galleries, public spaces, and Boyd Plaza — created by local garden clubs, florists, and designers alongside the art that inspired them.

Art Blossoms is a moment for the community to come together to celebrate the arts and the beauty of nature. Visitors are invited to marvel at more than 20 living art arrangements and to participate in a full schedule of dynamic events. For its third year, Art Blossoms brings back beloved events like Roses and Rosé tour and tastings, art classes, and a Mother’s Day brunch. It also includes exciting new events like a luncheon with Canaan Marshall aka the Flower Whisperer, exclusive tours with CMA Executive Director Della Watkins, a gin tasting, and an opening day that kicks off with a floral talk and a demonstration by professional gardeners and florists.

“Come celebrate art, flowers, and spring with us!” says Watkins. “Art Blossoms is growing into a very special annual regional attraction, and this year’s programming has something for everyone, from wine tastings with Tim Gardner of James Beard Award-nominated Lula Drake to an art class on natural dyeing. We are thankful to the garden clubs and floral designers sharing their creativity, wonderful program partners, and of course the hundreds of visitors who come to experience this fundraiser that supports this museum and a thriving creative culture in South Carolina.”

In addition to the CMA Collection, this year’s Art Blossoms features work on view in exhibitions Our Own Work, Our Own Way: Ascendant Women Artists in the Johnson Collection (closing May 21) and Bullets and Bandaids: A Veteran Anthology. Other exhibitions open during Art Blossoms include Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World (closing May 14) and Constantine Manos: A Greek Portfolio.

Art Blossoms is a unique exhibition held annually on Mother’s Day weekend that also serves as a fundraiser for the Columbia Museum of Art. Every ticket purchased for the exhibition and its related events supports the CMA’s award-winning arts education and programming and helps to ensure a thriving creative community in the Midlands.

Art Blossoms general museum admission: $15 / $5 for members. General admission tickets are sold at the door and not available for advance purchase. Event tickets are on sale now.

Art Blossoms Events

Director’s Tour: The Hidden Language of Flowers
Thursday, May 11 | 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Friday, May 12 | 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Flowers have been used for centuries to share emotions and communicate meaning. Join CMA Executive Director Della Watkins in the Art Blossoms galleries before they open to the public to explore the hidden language of flowers. This lively walking tour looks at flora in art across cultural and historic boundaries, delving into the variety of symbolic meanings found everywhere from folklore to facts, name, and color. Cultivate your ability to “speak flowers” in future gift giving and floral arranging, then enjoy light refreshments and chat more about the power of flowers. $60 / $50 for members. Space limited.

Opening Day Talk: Growing a Cutting Garden with the Purple Tuteur Farm
Thursday, May 11 | 11:00 a.m. – Noon
Ever dreamed of having a cutting garden at home? On opening day of Art Blossoms, Linda Bradley, founder and owner of the Purple Tuteur Farm, talks the basics of getting started and what will grow in hot and humid South Carolina. Located in Blythewood, the Purple Tuteur Farm grows specialty cut flowers for the local market and offers them on a wholesale and retail basis; its mission is to bring joy through flowers. Free with Art Blossoms admission: $15 / $5 for members.

Opening Day Floral Demonstration with Designer Julianne Sojourner
Thursday, May 11 | 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
On opening day of Art Blossoms, enjoy a demonstration from Julianne Sojourner, who has over 20 years’ experience in floral design and event planning, including many CMA Galas. Sojourner’s designs and events have been featured frequently in Columbia Metropolitan magazine. She particularly enjoys weddings and other opportunities for large-scale design that is often over the top but always elegant. Although mostly self-taught, she trained in sacred floral design at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and is a long-term member of the Trinity Cathedral Flower Guild. Free with Art Blossoms admission: $15 / $5 for members.

Roses and Rosé with Lula Drake’s Tim Gardner
Thursday, May 11 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 13 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
An Art Blossoms favorite is back with two dates this year! Take a flora-focused art tour through the galleries to learn about the significance of various types of flowers across time periods and cultures, then enjoy wine, cheese, and charcuterie boards expertly paired with Art Blossoms arrangements. Hosted by Tim Gardner of the James Beard Award-nominated Lula Drake Wine Parlour. Ages 21 and up. $100 / $80 for members.

Art Blossoms Public Tour
Friday, May 12 | 11:00 a.m. – Noon and 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 13 | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Ann Holtschlag is a CMA docent with her own “Garden of Weedin,” so she has years of experience with both art and flowers. She also works with each and every gardener featured in Art Blossoms to bring this beautiful exhibition together. She brings these two perspectives to a tour of the Art Blossoms art pieces and the arrangements that enhance them. Free with Art Blossoms admission: $15 / $5 for members.

Art Blossoms Luncheon with the Flower Whisperer
Friday, May 12 | 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy a delightful luncheon with wine by Loosh Culinaire along with an intimate talk led by the Flower Whisperer, Canaan Marshall. Featured in magazines like Southern Living and as a contestant on HBO’s Full Bloom, Marshall is best known for his ability to turn the everyday into the elegant and to bring joy to everything he touches. Learn more about what inspires him, how he brings his grand visions to life, and how you can take these special touches back to your home and gatherings. $135 / $110 for members. Sponsor tables for eight: $1200.

Art Class: Floral Design (SOLD OUT)
Friday, May 12 | 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Join Sarah Shell, founder of Fern Studio Flowers, for an afternoon of floral design. Shell guides participants through the steps of designing and arranging a compote in Fern’s signature garden style. This class uses lush, specialty blooms with a concentration on seasonal, local flowers. Ticket includes the compote container and all flowers and mechanics needed to create a stunning centerpiece. Ages 15 and up. $165 / $132 for members.

Gin Blossoms: A Botanical Tasting and Demonstration
Friday, May 12 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
New this year! Popular Columbia bartender David Adedokun (The War Mouth, Smoked, and The Dragon Room) mixes up floral-inspired gin cocktails, creating three unique tastes and sharing his secrets so you can re-create them at home. Includes Art Blossoms gallery admission, cocktail tastings, and lovely meat, cheese, and bread boards from Honey River Catering. Nonalcoholic gin alternative available. $110 / $90 for members.

Art Class: Natural Dyeing
Saturday, May 13 | 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Experiment with seemingly ordinary plants to dye fabric samples for fascinating creations. Taught by local artist and educator Tabitha Ott, who received her BFA in sculpture with a concentration in jewelry and metals from Winthrop University and her MFA in jewelry and metals from Kent State University. Ott was on faculty at Claflin University for eight years and served as interim chair of its Department of Art from 2020 to 2022. She has a studio at Tapp’s Outpost, where she creates one-of-a-kind jewelry and sculpture. Ages 15 and up. All materials and equipment provided. Dress for a mess as participants work with wet media that could stain clothes. $120 / $96 for members.

Art Class: Botanical Lumen Prints
Saturday, May 13 | 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Lumen printing is a contact printing process that uses photographic paper or film, organic material, and sunlight. There is no right or wrong in lumen printing, and there is also no predicting the end result. Workshop participants are guided through the process of creating their own prints using flora and fauna. Taught by Kathleen Robbins, professor of art, coordinator of the photography program, and affiliate faculty of Southern studies at the University of South Carolina’s School of Visual Arts and Design. Robbins earned a BA in studio art from Millsaps College and an MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico. Her work has been featured in museums and galleries including the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, the New Orleans Photo Alliance, The Light Factory Museum of Contemporary Photography & Film, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Addison Gallery of American Art, The Southeast Museum of Photography, the Society for Contemporary Photography, the Mississippi Museum of Art, and the Columbia Museum of Art. All supplies and equipment provided. Ages 15 and up. $140 / $112 for members.

Art Blossoms Brunch
Sunday, May 14 | 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. or 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Have brunch on beautiful Boyd Plaza or in the CMA Reception Gallery and enjoy botanically inspired wines, a Bloody Mary bar, and a decadent buffet from Honey River Catering during this creative dining experience. Don’t miss this chance to gather with family and friends for a perfect Mother’s Day with a welcome glass of bubbly. Choose between a 10:30 a.m. seating or a 1:00 p.m. seating. Ticket includes brunch buffet, beverages, and admission to the CMA galleries to see more than 20 beautiful Art Blossoms arrangements. Individual tickets: $110 / $90 for members. Table for 8: $880 / $720 for members.


Art Blossoms

Art Blossoms is presented through the support of our generous sponsors and grantors. Magnolia sponsors: Hannah and Ron Rogers. Camellia sponsors: Joyce and George Hill; Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP; Dr. Suzan D. Boyd and Mr. M. Edward Sellers. Hydrangea sponsors: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina; Haynsworth, Sinkler, Boyd; Hotel Trundle. Azalea sponsors: Cool Care Heating, Air, Plumbing & Refrigeration; Susan B. and C. Carroll Heyward; Ann and Steve Holtschlag; Julianne and David Sojourner; Dorothy A. Poston. Daffodil sponsors: Cathy and Mike Love; Joseph Bruce; Robert and Suzanne Clawson to celebrate the life and memory of George “Chip” S. King, Jr.; Beth and Matthew Richardson; Susan Thorpe and John Baynes; Karen Brosius and Willson Powell; Sara and Robert Peckham. Vendors: Black Tie Bartending; 8th Wonder Catering; Honey River Catering; Loosh Culinaire Fine Catering; Party Reflections; Richland Library. Floral Partners: B.B. Barnes of Columbia; Cricket Newman Designs; Julianne Sojourner-My Friend’s Garden; Purple Tuteur Farm; Something Special Florist; Steven Ford Interiors. Grantors: City of Columbia; Experience Columbia SC; Richland County Government; South Carolina Arts Commission; Discover South Carolina.