After begrudgingly suffering through one of the most agonizing winters in a very long time, I think most Philadelphians are absolutely euphoric at the recent signs of springtime. Whether it’s finally seeing runners whiz past you in Rittenhouse Square or little pinks buds starting to show up on cherry blossom trees, I am happy to say my fingers now function as something other than opposable icicles. I mean, we even had snow after free water ice day- what’s up with that?!
As a born and bred flower child, I’ll be kicking off this first real weekend of spring weather by checking out the inaugural PAFA In Bloom even at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The concept was originally conceived by local award-winning floral design couple, Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI and Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI (of Schaffer Designs) back in May 2012. While it took time to develop plans and confirm details before the project could meet fruition, the duo has wanted to see an event like this make its way to Philadelphia since Kratt moved here in 2008.
“I grew up in San Francisco, where de Young Museum has always had these ‘Art in Bloom’ events. It was a goal of mine to be part of it someday, and when I moved here I thought Philly needed to have one, too,” said Kratt.
The couple decided to take it upon themselves and reached out to PAFA to host the event for an educational aspect to benefit from the project as well. PAFA’s board of directors was beyond excited to partner with the team and move forward with the concept.
“Sarah Holleran, the art director, has been absolutely fabulous to work with,” says Schaffer. “She crosses all the t’s and dots all the i’s—it’s made it a lot easier for us to take care of the floral end of things.”
The event serves a supplementary fundraiser for PAFA, whose primary fundraising event is an annual Bacchanal Wine Gala and Auction. More importantly, though, the event provides an outlet for nearly 70 floral designers (including at least two international designers) to showcase their creativity through interpretation of different pieces of art in galleries in PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building.
“This is purely for the love of flowers, and we’re really able to make that happen with a really talented team of professional designers presenting pieces this year,” says Schaffer. “The most amazing thing is, these designers—who never have the opportunity to express who they are as artists—have been coming to us and thanking us for this chance to show their work.”
The weekend-long event kicked off with a formal preview and reception for donors and designers Thursday evening at the Landmark Building. Doors are open to the public Friday, April 4th through Sunday, April 6th, where there will be additional features such as demonstrations from world-class designers Neil Whittaker and Wendy Andrade as well as floral activities for families to have fun with on Saturday. More information about the event can be found here.