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Art in Bloom blossoms at library

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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Wet, heavy snow covered the grass and lined the sidewalks outside, but inside of the Needham Free Public Library, flowers were blooming.

Every year, the Beth Shalom Garden Club and Needham High School’s art department team up with the town to bring Needham Art in Bloom, a celebration in which Garden Club members create floral arrangements inspired by students’ artwork.

The installations were displayed in Needham Town Hall and at the Center at the Heights on March 9, but made their way for the entire town to see at the Needham Free Public Library on March 10 and 11.

Over 71 students from Needham High’s art courses had their work featured at the library. The students’ skill levels ranged from Art 1 students to Advanced Placement Studio Art students, and included works from the high school’s photography, ceramics, and digital art and animation classes.

The Beth Shalom Garden Club members then created 3D interpretations of the student art by assembling unique arrangements and matching the colors of the flowers to the art itself.

For her Advanced Placement Studio Art homework entitled “Repetition with Variation,” Michelle Viener used a variety of warm and cool tones to illustrate 12 views of a CD binder, which were then carefully spaced and pasted on a black piece of paper. To interpret the piece, Margo Yie placed lily of the Incas, forsythia, red foliage, larkspur, and sugarbushes inside of a bamboo grid.

For her concentration piece, Sara Flano created an embroidery of a woman dressed in her undergarments and behind pink lettering that said: “My body is not your business.”

To its right, Debbi Cohen’s floral interpretation complimented the embroidery. Sitting low in the container covered in burlap was an arrangement of baby’s breath, widow’s thrill, spray rose, and calla lily. Hovering inches over the arrangement on two tall sticks, though, was a pink bra to commend Sara’s interest in feminist ideas.

“It’s really cool to have the town showcase our work and not just have it in the school,” Sara said as she visited her piece on display.

“It’s cool being able to relate it to flowers, too. I feel really honored to be able to be a part of it and that my piece gets showcased here. I didn’t get to see what [the florist] was doing and I really love it. I really like how she translated it.”

She also gushed over the support that students – including herself – receive from Needham High’s art department, explaining that the art teachers encourage students to experiment with new ideas, such as embroidery.

With pieces from the high school’s fine arts department on display, too, and with live art and floral demonstrations downstairs, the community was able to see and be inspired by the creativity of Needham’s students and Garden Club members.

Amy Liss creatively interprets Jessica McGrady’s ‘Wheels and Pumps’ ink drawing by using pinecones and wine corks, in addition to flowers.

Amy Liss creatively interprets Jessica McGrady’s ‘Wheels and Pumps’ ink drawing by using pinecones and wine corks, in addition to flowers.

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