Leif Lorenz, part of our Detroit team, recently shared with us a volunteer program that he works closely with in Michigan. I connected with one of the group coordinators, Jeananne Joaquin, to find out a bit more about the Detroit Institute of Art’s volunteer group, Friends of Art & Flowers! If you’re in the Detroit area, they are always looking to add new members, so keep reading to find out a bit more about what they do!
How was Friends of Art & Flowers formed?
Friends of Art & Flowers was founded as a support group in 1980 by four ladies. Liz Kuhlman and Betsy Campbell are the only living members remaining. They and their friends approached the museum director with a request to beautify the museum with flower arrangements on a weekly basis. Liz & Betsy have been and still are an inspiration to all of us and have seen the membership grow to 150 members.
What is the main purpose of this group?
We are a volunteer organization and do at least three large arrangements each week and often more. We also decorate the museum for the holidays and do flowers for special events at the museum.
How many designers participate in the installations and other activities you put on, and how does it work?
Each week the flower arrangements are coordinated, flowers ordered, purchased and designed by a leader and a few assistants-in-training are scheduled to work with the leader. We have a team of about 55 volunteers for this and more who work with the event coordinator.
Do you have to be a floral professional to become a member, or is anyone welcome?
One need not be a professional floral designer to participate in FAF. Everyone is welcome. Many members enjoy attending the events but we always encourage our new members to get involved in any way. No special talents required!
What types of events do you put on?
Along with our regular programs, we also hold workshops for the membership. These workshops are usually hands on with members taking away their floral creation. We often use the talents of arrangement leaders (some are national flower show judges) from our membership as well as bring in outside designers. Last year Mayesh employee Leif Lorenz was a guest speaker and designer, which was a wonderful event and a chance for the membership to get to know Leif outside of his Mayesh environment. He has been very supportive and helpful to all of us!
We also sponsor two lectures a year. Our spring lecture, “The Elizabeth Sikes Kuhlman Lecture,” is a week long event for us. We have had speakers from Holland, England, New York, California, Vancouver and elsewhere that are on the cutting edge of design. We end the week with a workshop for a more one-on-one experience with the designer. This year we are hosting Joseph Massie from Liverpool. This event is scheduled for April 28, 2016, and there are still tickets available for the lecture & luncheon!
We also hold a fall lecture, “The Betsy Campbell Fall Lecture,” which focuses more on landscape design. This is a one day event with national and local designers participating.
If you’re interested in attending their upcoming spring lecture, click here to get details on tickets!