Michigan’s Art in the Elements Creates Floral Forest Theme

By Jill Brooke

Laura Daluga is an eternal optimist. When the Michigan-native learned the popular Art in the Elements at Meadow Brook Hall was going to be canceled after 11 years, something inside her was triggered.

She started making calls, finding sponsors such as Oasis Floral Products and Nordie Wholesalers- and discovering another location for the popular venue which had been displayed at the property of local florist Bob Friese.

Today starts the three-day weekend celebration throughout the Great Estate’s woodland paths where people can social distance in nature and see large floral installations by 25 phenomenal artists from around the Midwest. Because of its format, it is not indoors so can be adapted for the COVID realities. An extra bonus prize.

After wandering through the woodland paths, visitors can step into the Hall for a tour that features more floral designers inspired by the Hall’s vast art collection.

“These installations elevate the profile of flowers, juxtaposing them against a lush green backdrop, and showing their potential as an artistic medium,” she says.

Last year, the third year since its resurrection, Art in the Elements broke designer participation and attendance records. This year is likely to even be more popular. 

“The show typically has a broad theme, 2019’s ‘Past, Present, Future’ or 2020’s theme ‘Storybooks and Fairytale,’ which each designer interprets into three-dimensional, immersive floral sculpture,” she says. “This year’s show will be a (literal) breath of fresh air! In an everything’s canceled kind of year, it’s very exciting that our safe, family-friendly, outdoor floral sculpture show will go on, and hopefully even grow this year.”

Each designer has 20 x 20 space which they can interpret the theme. The floral artists who are participating include:

  • Laura Parker AIFD, Charlotte’s Web, @lauraparkeraifd, MI
  • Art Into Flowers, Rango, @artintoflowers, MI
  • Cathy Brunk AIFD, Little Red Riding Hood, MN
  • Laura Daluga AIFD, Spirited Away, @dofloristry, MI
  • Rae Roberts Griffith AIFD, Aladdin, @rae_floral, FL
  • Liz Stocker AIFD, The Enchanted Forest, @liz_nidy, OH
  • BLUMZ by JR Designs, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, @blumzbyjrdesigns, MI
  • Debbie Strand AIFD, The Thunderbird, @deborahstranddesigns, IL
  • Garrett Skupinski CF, The Mirror of Matsuyama, @skupinskicf, MO
  • Courtney Turner AIFD, Tangled, @courtneyturneraifd, IN
  • Jen Butcher AIFD + Michelle Runyon AIFD, Alice in Wonderland, @michellerunyonaifd, IN
  • Deb Schwarze AIFD, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, MN
  • Abbey Sexton + Heather DeLong CFD, The Giving Tree, @abigailbloom.floraldesign + @heatherandjerry MI
  • Art Bone CF + Garden Fantasy on Main, Hansel and Gretel, @gardenfantasymain, MI
  • Cher Daluga, The Secret Garden, MI
  • Emily Bianchette + Fioza Leigh, Snow White, @ebiancette + @fiozaleigh, MI
  • Pattie Wallander AIFD, Maleficent, @pattierobwallander, MS
  • David Thompson, Robin Hood, IL
  • Patricia Huggins, Mary Poppins, @phuggins2, OH

Here are some of the installations from last year and we can’t wait to show you the newest ones shortly. These live installations are going to increase in popularity because it’s outdoor fun when concerts and shows aren’t as available. 

If you are lucky enough to be in the Detroit region, definitely check this out. Tickets are $20. Flowers are truly in their element when showcased in the woods. What a collaboration between human creativity and flowers in a natural setting. These artists elevate what nature gives us. It is not only something inspiring by that pairing but wholesome as well. Working with nature in nature produces glorious results.

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.