The most fulfilling part of my residency was interacting with the public in my pop-up studio. To have people simply recognize my work as art, to not be put into the somewhat dated term of ‘florist.’ Yes I am that as well, but that's literally just the surface of the possibilities. I'm many things.
Arthur Williams took inspiration from the museum collections to create site-specific installations and live performances. His residency coincided with a larger, campus-wide program focused on flowers that included flower exhibitions and programming.
Once a week, Arthur set up a pop-up floral studio outside the design galleries where visitors could interact with him while he worked on floral arrangements. He hosted “Tag Along” tours where visitors could accompany him as he worked in the galleries, doing everything from refreshing arrangements to installing new works.
Arthur also held three large-scale performances that literally brought our summer theme of flowers to life. Using a range of botanical, natural, and man-made materials, as well as live models, these performances challenged perceptions and created a powerful connection between visitors and the artist.
Working with organic material in the museum presented a number of concerns, and it was crucial for the DAM team to work closely with our conservation department to negotiate solutions. This residency allowed Arthur to showcase his process without the constraints of the retail world. His pieces created lovely elements of surprise for visitors and pushed the perception of floral design as art.
About the Creative: Arthur Williams is known for his floral headdresses and the use of natural tension in his work. He considers “what's yet to come” in positioning a bud yet to blossom, or a full bloom that will decline, showing that a floral work of art is alive and transitory, and cannot be possessed; it can only be experienced. With a background in gardening, sculpture, and photography, he entered the floral industry in 1996, and opened Babylon Floral Design, Inc. in 2004. One of the first seven people in Colorado to become a Certified Professional Florist, Arthur is also a Certified Floral Designer at the national level. In 2015, he was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers, and he completed his European Master Certification in 2016.
Image at top: Arthur Williams, Creative-In-Residence at the Denver Art Museum, 2015. Photography by Beth Sanders.