Creative 360 is providing a feast for the senses in a fundraising event next weekend. The work of local florists and culinary designers will combine with traditional artwork as part of Sensations: Connecting Art Forms.
Laura Brigham, office manager at Creative 360, has been working on the idea of uniting traditional art with floral and culinary creations for several months. After talking with a florist acquaintance in Illinois who was part of a similar event, Brigham was eager to try it in Midland, adding area bakeries as well.
“I always thought it was interesting. I think sometimes people don’t know what an art floral design is,” Brigham said. “There are a lot of great culinary artists out there.”
Brigham brought the idea to the attention of Creative 360 Executive Director Laura Vosejpka prior to the pandemic. However, at that time the gallery was booked back to back with exhibits, so Brigham waited patiently for an opening. When the pandemic hit, it gave Brigham the time window she was looking for. It was a glass half empty, half full situation, said Vosejpka.
Similar events usually involve a series of artists creating their own take on a famous painting or sculpture. For Sensations, Brigham wanted to pair local artists with regional florists and culinary designers, thus providing a wider variety of inspiration. Seven to eight area artists provided images of their entries to Creative 360, which in turn offered a selection to bakers and florists and let them choose to work with a piece that motivated them. Although the event occurs just days away from Valentine’s Day, many of the florists and bakers were eager to participate.
“It’s interesting to see what they’ve chosen,” Brigham said.
Allison Robinson, of Midland, began Love & Flour Bakery last October as a creative outlet during quarantine last year. Robinson previously worked in the pastry department of The H Hotel and would often create new desserts to place on display at Café Zinc. Now she makes macarons, cakes and assorted pastries at her home business.
“It was something I was always passionate about,” Robinson said.
For Sensations, Robinson was inspired by a garden scene painted by Alan Maciag and will design a cake that will incorporate elements of his painting. She plans to include a lattice made of fondant and buttercream flowers, highlighted with splashes of color. Robinson believes baking is an art form, as she always considers the end goal as she goes through the process, starting with sketches and finishing with a colorful, tasty treat.
“I really gravitate towards food. It’s really exciting for me to put those two pieces together,” Robinson said.
Twins Amanda Steere-Hill and Jessica Steere-Yordy of Midland have been interested in flowers from a young age, making bouquets from their aunt’s garden and competing in Shepherd’s 4-H floral competitions. With degrees in business and a shared background in management, Steere-Hill and Steere Yordy started Two of a Kind Floral as a side hobby, but it bloomed into a full business in 2015.
Steere-Hill and Steere-Yordy were thrilled when Brigham approached them about participating in Sensations. Instead of focusing on one specific piece for their arrangements, they drew inspiration from the collection that Brigham sent them. The sisters will each submit a flower arrangement, representing Two of a Kind Floral.
“We’ve always loved art. To be able to arrange in an art form was exciting for us,” said Steere-Hill.
Steere-Hill is excited to see what other florists and culinary designers will present at Sensations and hopes it will become an annual event. As someone who appreciates what goes into the creative process, she views floral design as its own branch of art.
“To be a floral designer, you need to have that creativity to succeed,” Steere-Hill said. “Every vase is an empty canvas.”
Sensations will take place both virtually and at Creative 360, with in-person attendance capped at 52. Both audience groups will be able to view the artwork, floral arrangements and culinary creations, watch short videos of artists explaining their work and bid on all entries in a silent auction. Bidding will open at 2 p.m. on Friday and close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13.
Brigham and Vosejpka hope the fundraising event will provide an opportunity to discover different art forms and display the wide array of creative talent in the region.
“I hope they experience a bit of wonder. I think people’s capacity for creating is bigger than we know,” Brigham said.
Vosejpka hopes Sensations will inspire others to create and seek new opportunities to expand their experience of art in all its forms. She explained how preparing for Sensations has shown her the limitlessness of creative options that Creative 360 can highlight in the future.
“The changes with the pandemic have opened up opportunities for us,” Vosejpka said.
Participating artists include Kristy Avery, Alan Maciag, Allise Noble, D. Joanne Rummel, Janet Wegner, Rebecca Zeiss and Mike Zureich. Additional floral and food designers include Artisanne Chocolatier, Enjoy Craft Bakery, Hannah’s Flowers, Regent Floral, Smith’s Flowers, Two of A Kind, Pat Smith and Pauline Pittsley.
Sensations be available in-person from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 at Creative 360, 1517 Bayliss St. in Midland. A link to the online gallery will go live Friday morning, Feb. 12, at becreative360.org. The event is free to attend.