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MFA extends hours for Art in Bloom 2014
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Chris Giftos
ST. PETERSBURG - Art in Bloom 2014, sponsored by The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society and the MFA, is a grand spring tradition and presents some of the most imaginative floral designs in the area. More than 50 floral designers will respond to artworks throughout the Museum.

The exhibition opens to the public Saturday, March 8, at 10 a.m. and continues through Tuesday, March 11. The Museum will be open Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, March 9-11, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. This will allow as many people as possible to celebrate Art in Bloom.

Chris Giftos, the guest artist for the Art in Bloom Luncheon on Friday, March 7, will create a floral masterpiece for the MFA’s Great Hall, just as he did at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for more than 33 years. That arrangement will be on view during Art in Bloom.

Noted contemporary artist Mernet Larsen will be the guest of honor during “Conversations with the Designers” on Sunday, March 9, from 2-4 p.m. Honorary Stuart Society member Eric Lang Peterson will create a floral design in response to Ms. Larsen’s exceptional painting Mall (1987), which he donated to the collection. Both will be on hand to interact with visitors.

There will be docent-led tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. The MFA Café will serve a unique dish with a floral theme each day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The Café will be open on Monday - an exception - and the Museum Store will celebrate Art in Bloom with books, jewelry, cards, and much more.

Floral and jewelry designer Dale Wybrow is the overall co-chair with Elizabeth Walters-Alison, and Betty Shamas has coordinated the installation of the flowers. Margaret Amley is President of The Stuart Society.

Admission to Art in Bloom includes New Mexico and the Arts of Enchantment featuring The Raymond James Financial Collection, as well as Aaron Siskind’s Harlem Document, which opens Saturday, March 8. The former, with more than 100 works, extends from pre-Hispanic pottery to paintings from the twenty-first century, along with exquisite, contemporary Native American jewelry.

The 36 choice photographs by the American master Aaron Siskind will be on view in the second-floor Works on Paper Gallery. All the images were donated by Dr. Robert L. and Chitranee Drapkin, leading lights of the MFA’s photography collection.

The MFA at 255 Beach Drive N.E. has a world-class collection, with works by Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, Morisot, Cézanne, Rodin, O’Keeffe, and many others. Also displayed are ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, Asian, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. The photography collection is one of the largest and finest in the Southeast. The galleries, The Junior League Great Hall, and the Marly Room in the original building were recently renovated, completely transforming the experience of the art on view.

Admission is only “5 after 5” on Thursday. Regular admission is $17 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, and $10 for students seven and older, including college students with current I.D. Children under age 7 and Museum members are admitted free. Groups of 10 or more adults pay only $12 per person and children $4 each with prior reservations.

For more information, please call 727.896.2667 or visit www.f­ine-a­rts.o­rg.

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