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  • Worcester Art Museum and Tower Hill Botanic Garden Introduce Flora In Winter, An Art and Floral Extravaganza

    (WORCESTER and BOYLSTON, MASS., JANUARY 21, 2003) - In the clutch of winter, two Central Massachusetts cultural institutions collaborate on an exhibition of fresh floral arrangements and artistic masterworks that conjure the sights and scents of a warmer climate.

    Flora in Winter, on view Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 6-9, features fresh floral arrangements interpreting works of art at the Worcester Art Museum and elements of the Master Plan at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. Garden club members and floral designers from throughout Central New England have volunteered to create the arrangements. Visitors can admire 20 arrangements in the Worcester Art Museum's galleries and a dozen arrangements at Tower Hill, as well as floral displays sponsored by area florists to adorn public spaces at the Museum. Guided tours at each location will be offered several times daily, and Tower Hill hosts a special lecture or flower arranging demonstration at 2 p.m. each day. Special events celebrating Flora in Winter will be held at each institution throughout the week.

    “Longtime friends of the Worcester Art Museum and the Worcester County Horticultural Society, before its move to Tower Hill, will remember ‘A Tribute to Flora,’ held each autumn from 1988 to 1991. Flora in Winter renews this partnership, and rejuvenates a wonderful program that celebrates the splendors of the creative world,” said Worcester Art Museum Director James A. Welu.

    “In the dormant New England winter landscape, Flora in Winter bursts with brilliance and imagination, echoing the creative spirit and natural resources of the region,” said John W. Trexler, executive director of Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

    At the Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., works of art chosen as inspiration for Flora in Winter arrangements vary from an ancient Egyptian sculpture, Chinese scroll, and a Precolumbian artifact, to paintings by Anders Zorn, Winslow Homer, Arthur Dove, and others. The floral arrangements, alongside their inspiration piece, are placed throughout the Museum, inviting a leisurely exploration of the Museum's art spanning 5,000 years.

    During Flora in Winter, a bust of the goddess Flora, a 17th-century Italian marble sculpture, takes center stage on the balcony of the Worcester Art Museum's Renaissance Court. According to ancient mythology, this goddess of flowers, springtime, gardens and love was deified with a kiss from Zephyr, the west wind of spring. Flora symbolizes rebirth and the awakening of spring, as she scatters flowers cascading from her hair, lips and gown.

    Viewing hours for Flora in Winter at the Worcester Art Museum are Thursday, Feb. 6, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Flora Euphoria!, a Flora in Winter preview event and fundraiser, will be held at the Worcester Art Museum on Wednesday, Feb. 5, from 7 to 10 p.m., with a snow date of Feb. 8. Guests at this black-tie-optional event will enjoy the floral displays at their freshest and may take a guided tour to learn more about the artwork interpreted in flowers. Live music by the East West Quartet, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar add to the evening's festivities. Tickets are $75, with complimentary valet parking, and contributing categories are also available. For tickets and information, call the Worcester Art Museum at 508.799.4406 ext. 3105.

    On Thursday evening, Feb. 6, the Worcester Art Museum presents Flora After Five, an opportunity for people to end their day with a casual celebration of Flora in Winter. The Museum will be open until 9 p.m. with guided tours at 6 and 7 p.m., light refreshments, and a cash bar. Public tours are offered each day and are included in the price of admission. They are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 6, and 7 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 7, at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 8, at 10:30 a.m., 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 9, at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

    At Tower Hill Botanic Garden The lush gardens and Master Plan of Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston, are celebrated by floral creations displayed in Tower Hill's Main Entry, Alice Milton Gallery and Fern Gallery, adjacent to the lush subtropical blooms and greenery in the Orangerie.

    Tower Hill enhances the mood and atmosphere of Flora in Winter with a Candlelight Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, featuring concert pianist Kenneth Wolf. Tickets are $30 nonmembers and $25 for members of either Tower Hill or the Worcester Art Museum. Call Tower Hill at 508.869.6111 ext. 36 for reservations.

    Each day at 2 p.m., Tower Hill hosts special lectures and flower-arranging demonstrations. On Thursday, Feb. 6, Sally McGuire Muspratt presents “A Visit to Les Quatre Vents,” a virtual tour of one of the world's most magnificent private gardens, the home of Frank Cabot and the subject of his book The Greater Perfection. On Friday, Feb. 7, explore “New Trends in European Design” in a flower-arranging demonstration and lecture by Sally Jablonski and Joan Moreschi of Herbert E. Berg Florist. On Saturday, Feb. 8, C.L Fornari teaches visitors how to create a miniature indoor garden in “Bringing the Garden Indoors-A Winter Celebration.” On Sunday, Feb. 9, Kaye Vosburgh introduces the concepts of Sogetsu Ikebana and free-style arranging in “Floral Encounters-Japanese Flower Arranging.” Space at these lectures is limited, and the cost is $7 nonmembers and $5 for members of either Tower Hill or the Worcester Art Museum, in addition to general admission. For reservations, call Tower Hill at 508.869.6111 ext. 36.

    Public tours will also be held at Tower Hill at noon, 1, and 3 p.m. each day. Tours are included with the price of admission.

    Flora in Winter Admission
    Regular admission fees apply at each institution. Admission is free to members of that institution. For others, Worcester Art Museum admission is $8 adults, $6 senior citizens and full-time students with ID, and free for youth 17 and under. Museum admission is free for everyone on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. Tower Hill admission is $8 adults, $5 seniors ages 65 and older and youth ages 6-18. Admission is free for children under 6.

    Combination tickets to visit both the Worcester Art Museum and Tower Hill Botanic Garden during Flora in Winter are available for $12 adults, $10 seniors, and $3 youth ages 17 and under. Combination tickets may be purchased at either institution. No advance tickets will be sold.

    Members of either institution enjoy free admission to that institution as well as discounts on special programs and other benefits. New members who join during Flora in Winter will be entered into a drawing for a number of prizes, including a grand prize trip to Quebec and a private tour of Les Quatre Vents gardens. Existing members who sponsor others for new membership are also eligible.

    Other services and amenities
    The Museum Café at the Worcester Art Museum and Twigs Café at Tower Hill offer extended hours during Flora in Winter. At the Worcester Art Museum, enjoy lunch from 11:30 to 3 p.m. and coffee, tea and desserts from 3 to 4 p.m. Twigs Café welcomes diners from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and serves beverages and desserts from 3 to 4 p.m.

    The Museum Shop and the Shop at Tower Hill will be open all Flora in Winter hours and feature special items related to Flora.

    For groups of 10 or more, full-day packages are available which include visits and tours at both institutions and a lecture/demonstration at Tower Hill. Early reservations are necessary, and the cost is $15 per person. Call 508.799.4406 ext. 3130.

    Flora in Winter is sponsored by Flagship Bank. Additional generous support has been provided by 90.9 WBUR. Participating sponsors are Holmes Shusas; Houston Floral Designs; Skaff Floral Creations; Herbert E. Berg Florist, Inc.; and Sprout. Arrangements have been donated by the Shrewsbury Garden Club, Tony Tedesco, and the Central Massachusetts Flower Show. Special contributors include James E. Hogan, III; Sherwin-Williams Co.; and Stop & Shop of Lincoln Plaza.

    Museum Background

    A cultural jewel of New England, the Worcester Art Museum first opened to the public in 1898. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Its extensive four-season studio arts program enrolls 6,000 adult and youth students each year. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (sponsored by Commerce Bank), and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and full-time college students with current ID, and FREE for Members and all youth 17 and under. Admission is also FREE for everyone on Saturday mornings, 10 a.m.-noon (sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company). The Museum is located at 55 Salisbury St., Worcester, Mass., easily accessible from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), Route 290 and Route 9. Expanded parking is available near entrances on Salisbury, Lancaster and Tuckerman streets. For more information, call (508) 799-4406.

    About Tower Hill Botanic Garden
    A tranquil refuge to delight the eye, expand the mind, nurture the soul and commune with the natural world, Tower Hill Botanic Garden is a year-round living museum of plants. Tower Hill is owned and operated by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, founded in 1842, with its mission to "advance the science and encourage and improve the practice of horticulture." The 132-acre site features formal and informal style gardens, a 4000-square foot Orangerie (greenhouse), meadows, woodland trails and a panoramic view of Mt. Wachusett and the Wachusett reservoir to the west. More than 60,000 visitors annually partake of Tower Hill's beauty, and several thousand participate in educational classes and programs offered by Tower Hill staff and invited lecturers.

    Tower Hill Botanic Garden is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors (65+) and youth (6-18), and FREE for Members and children under 6. Tower Hill is located at 11 French Drive, Boylston, Mass., exit 24 off Route 290. Free parking. For more information, call (508) 869-6111, or visit the Garden's website at www.towerhillbg.org.