Article by Siena Beacham
April 15, 2019
Stunning and intricate floral installations were scattered throughout the San Diego Museum of Art this past weekend, April 11th-14th during Art Alive’s 38th year. Over 12,000 museum-goers, art appreciators and flower lovers visited the exhibition in just one weekend. The Museum’s most important annual fundraiser is held to raise much needed financial support for public programs, education, community outreach, and exhibitions.
The event began Thursday evening with the Art Alive Premier Dinner, an intimate black-tie event set within the Museum’s galleries. Next up was the Member’s Preview on Friday morning and then BLOOM BASH Friday night! This anticipated party marked the official kickoff of Art Alive. Custom art installations were featured by the San Diego-based contemporary artist, Monty Montgomery, who is known for his vibrant murals characterized by their black lines, bright colors, and geometric shapes. Attendees enjoyed tasty treats from San Diego’s best culinary creators, floral-infused cocktails, live music and dancing, interactive entertainment and an exclusive after-hours viewing of this year’s floral exhibition
The floral exhibition was on display Friday through Sunday and the live artworks were incredibly impressive. Rotunda designer Jennifer McGarigle created a breathtaking floor to ceiling red rose installation that hung in the center of the grand hall to captivate visitors as soon as they entered the Museum’s doors. Her design was themed after the Alfred Eisenstaedt: Life and Legacy photography exhibition, which also opened during Art Alive weekend. It was inspired by the idea of flowers frozen in time, just as moments are captured in photographs. McGarigle has created floral displays for the Oprah Winfrey Show, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and more
Almost 100 floral designers’ interpretations of famous works of art throughout the Museum were featured, but the Member’s Choice Awards’ first place award went to Carvill Veech.
It was a family affair with excitement for visitors of every age. Kids created their own mini hand-made clay flower installations as part of the Garden of Activities, which also featured a Museum-wide flower hunt and a children’s reading area with nature-inspired stories. Native Poppy, a San Diego-based floral design company and boutique, led an interactive flower crown workshop. Some Art Alive patrons even wore floral headdresses as they enjoyed the exhibition.
Behind all the magic was event coordinator extraordinaire, Sarah Grossman. She has been managing and planning the Art Alive weekend for 11 years. After studying art in college, Grossman feels this is a perfect fit for her personal interests and skills. When asked to express a bit about the heart and soul of the event in her own words, she said, “I think what is so special about Art Alive is the way it makes you look at the Art in a new way. It’s a unique perspective, each designer is so talented and sees something different than anyone else would. Plus this lighthearted approach to art is infectious and creating a whole weekend of different events gives all audiences a way to engage with it.”
The seasoned event coordinator shared a couple of her highlight moments. She said working with Monty Montgomery and Jennifer McGarigle was her favorite part of the planning process. She is inspired by the artists’ mind and the work they create.
Planning for the one-weekend exhibition is a year-long endeavor. In fact, the museum has already begun preparations for 2020! The event continues to grow with each year and Grossman thinks the future is bright for Art Alive.
About the San Diego Museum of Art:
Providing a rich and diverse cultural experience, The San Diego Museum of Art houses some of the world’s finest art. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, the Museum’s internationally renowned collection of more than 20,000 works–dating from 3000 BC to present day–includes Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings including the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Indian paintings, East Asian art, American art, and Modern and Contemporary paintings and sculptures. The Museum regularly features major exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as an extensive year-round schedule supporting cultural and educational programs for children and adults. It also hosts engaging experiences that invite visitors to explore art through music, dance, film, food, and so much more. At The San Diego Museum of Art, exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.