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Philly Flower Show brings art canvases to life

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 28, 2014 at 8:47 am •  Published: February 28, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Winter-weary gardeners and painters alike may find inspiration in the colorful palette of the Philadelphia Flower Show, which uses plants and petals to pay homage to work by artists like Matisse, Calder and Kandinsky.

The main exhibitors partnered with major U.S. museums to produce "ARTiculture," this year's floral extravaganza which opens Saturday and runs through March 9.

A perennial harbinger of spring, the flower show will be perhaps more fervently welcomed this season after the toll of an unusually cold and snowy winter along the Eastern Seaboard.

"Living in the Northeast ... everyone is so sick of snow that coming in and seeing color, and seeing the flower show, it's going to be a welcome respite this year," said Drew Becher, president of the show's sponsor, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Previous themes for the 10-acre show have been places: England, Hawaii, Paris. But this year's museum-related theme is more abstract, in some cases literally.

Schaffer Designs of Philadelphia partnered with the Guggenheim Museum in New York to come up with "Kandinsky's Canvas," a floral representation of three abstract paintings by Wassily Kandinsky: "Circles in a Circle," ''Little Accents" and "Dominant Curve."

The "circles," for instance, have been transformed into colorful balls of carnations and other plant material. They look randomly placed until viewers stand on a premarked spot and see them a through an empty picture frame.

"They will actually see the painting come to life as it was originally meant to be," said designer Bill Schaffer.

The show's colorful entrance garden pays tribute to Alexander Calder, a sculptor and painter whose work can be found throughout the city. Visitors are greeted by a huge floral mobile and three oversized picture frames, the largest measuring 30 feet high by 50 feet wide (9 by 15 meters). The aerial dance troupe Bandaloop will perform regularly within the multi-dimensional display.

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