The Beauty of Art in Bloom Festival in Raleigh: A Complete Guide

Are you ready to immerse yourself in a vibrant tapestry of colors, shapes, and creativity? Welcome to the Art in Bloom Festival in Raleigh, a celebration bringing together the worlds of art and nature in an explosion of beauty and inspiration.

This annual Raleigh event has become a cherished tradition for locals and visitors alike, captivating hearts with its unique blend of floral artistry and artistic expression.

woman standing in front of floral display shaped like musical note
Musical Note!

Last year, we attended for the first time, and I was beyond impressed with how great it was. I’m more than happy to return each year, to see what the new stunning floral arrangements are that elevates an already beautiful North Carolina Museum of Art.

From our professional travel expertise, we often say the NC Museum of Art is Raleigh’s best foot forward, and with the Art in Bloom festival, it’s taking a giant frog leap.

What is the Art in Bloom Festival?

flower arrangement with mask in the middle in front of paintings in art museum
Representing the paintings behind

Art in Bloom is a spectacular festival hosted in the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh that transcends traditional art appreciation.

It is a collaborative showcase where florists, artists, and designers come together to interpret and recreate selected artworks from the North Carolina Museum of Art using flowers and other natural elements.

These floral arrangements seamlessly blend with the paintings, sculptures, and installations throughout the museum. And with all the natural light in the open-air West Gallery, the arrangements pop even more with style and vibrancy.

rainbow floral arrangement in art gallery
Stunning displays!

The festival is not just about enjoying the beauty of the moment, but ensuring generations to come can continue to enjoy the expression of our beliefs, stories, and desires through arts.

All funds raised by Art in Bloom support the Museum’s public programming, annual exhibitions, and the NCMA Foundation, Inc. Let’s keep the arts, imagination, and creativity alive.

2024 Theme: The Decade Show

woman and children standing behind TV made from flowers
Over 400 floral installations in 10 years!

This year is the tenth year of Art in Bloom in Raleigh. Over that time, Art in Bloom has displayed over 400 floral installations, been attended by over 130,000 people, and has featured nearly 200 North Carolina floral artists.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of the NC Museum of art. To celebrate both, the theme for 2024 will be the Decade Show.

Art in Bloom 2024 will feature 41 installations, including 10 large installations inspired by the decades from the 1920s through to the 2020s.

Worried about those flowers drying up and dying off? No need. Art in Bloom designers are required to refresh their arrangements daily, with a major refresh on Friday to replace flowers as needed.

Art in Bloom Dates and Tickets

stick dancing figures with tutus made from flowers
Don’t miss out.

The Art in Bloom festival kickstarts Spring in Raleigh during the week of March 13–17, 2024 in the West Building of the museum. 

  • Wednesday, March 13, 10 am–3 pm
  • Thursday, March 14, 10 am–5 pm
  • Friday, March 15, 11 am–7 pm
  • Saturday, March 16, 10 am–7 pm
  • Sunday, March 17, 10 am–5 pm

For 2024’s Art in Bloom, tickets will be $40 Members and $50 Non-members. Get tickets here.

Tickets have gone up this year – there’s that inflation again! It does include all taxes and fees, so no surprises – and this year it includes entry to the special exhibition To Take Shape and Meaning: Form and Design in Contemporary American Indian Art.

Tickets are available for purchase now for Members and Thursday, February 8, for Non-Members

The West Building will be closed to the public during Art in Bloom. However, East Building galleries are open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. The Museum Park and East Café are also open.

In the lead up to the event, the NC Museum of Art will be hosting pop up events around Wake County. We’ll share them as they are announced in our weekly newsletter. Sign up here.

Friday Feb 16, there will be a Build-a-Bouquet pop up and flower installation from 11am -2pm at North Hills Commons and Sat Feb 17 at Fenton Square from 11am-2pm.

What can you see at Art in Bloom?

bullseye painting on art gallery wall with flowers in front
Stunning floral arrangements

Prepare to be enchanted as you wander through the museum’s galleries, where each room transforms into a living canvas and the fragrance of blossoms fills the air, creating an immersive sensory experience that adds a new layer to your appreciation of art.

Throughout the rooms of the West Gallery, you’ll find stunning floral arrangements that mirror the colors, textures, and emotions of the original artworks.

From classic masterpieces to contemporary installations, every piece is brought to life in a breathtaking dialogue between art and flowers. You receive a booklet upon arrival, which lists all the floral arrangements. They are numbered and listed on a map.

Each listing explains more about the floral arrangement and the museum piece it is recreating. These descriptions will also be on the actual exhibits. Spend time reading them and seeing the connections between the flowers and the original art piece.

flower arrangement in front of painting on the wall
Original artwork behind the flowers

This is what I most enjoyed about the festival. I went thinking I was just going to see pretty flower arrangements.

It was only when I arrived that I realized the arrangements were replicating the collections in the museum. I was stunned at the creativity and talent and enjoyed seeing a different way to experience and interpret the pieces of art.

flower arrangement in front of upside down painting
The right way up interpretation of the painting behind

If you love unique things to do in Raleigh – this festival has to be high on your list. See the beauty of last year’s Art in Bloom displays in the video below.

Is Art in Bloom good for kids?

Young girl looking up at an art dispaly on a wall
Our kids enjoyed it.

If you’re wondering whether Art in Bloom is good for kids, the answer is yes! Well, it depends on their interest’s level, and given its an art museum, with mostly adults in attendance, you’ll want to make sure they’re on their best behavior. Leave all the running around for outside in the gardens and trails.

Our tween and teen both really enjoyed it. It’s definitely geared more towards older kids who have an interest in the arts and nature.

Here are more things to do in Raleigh with kids and things to do in Raleigh with teens.

Interactive Workshops and events during the festival

bouquet of flowers on table
Learn the art of floral arranging

Take advantage of the various workshops and special events offered during the festival. Learn the art of floral arranging, gain insights from experts, and even try your hand at creating your own botanical masterpiece.

Keynote speaker Ace Berry, owner of Ace in Full Bloom and Fulshear Floral Design in Houston, Texas, and participant on HBO’s Full Bloom, will lead two live floral programs. Here are a few other fun events.

Avant Gardener Designer Reception

This is your chance to meet with the designers and congratulate the winner of the Director’s Choice Award. The Designer Reception will be in a whimsical garden theme and includes light hors d’oeuvres and a specialty cocktail.

Chef’s Table Art in Bloom

Chicken breast on a plate of greens
The Garden Parasol

Time to eat art. Executive Chef Rich Carter’s will present a menu inspired by the People’s Collection painting The Garden Parasol. The dinner incorporates the colors, textures, and emotions portrayed in the artwork. If you’re a foodie and an art lover, you’ve just sat down to the dream! 

Art of Tea in Bloom at East Café

The art of British afternoon tea is hard to find in Raleigh. Now is your chance with the Art of Tea in Bloom experience which features a fixed price menu that includes savory canapés, finger sandwiches, and floral-inspired pâtisserie.

Premium teas or coffee is included. Floral-inspired cocktails are available for purchase. You must register in advance.

Shop in the Museum Store

The Museum Store celebrates established and emerging local artists and artisans with a limited collection of candles, jewelry, and glass creations for sale. This year’s offerings also feature an array of floral and botanical book titles and small keepsakes like stickers, magnets, and coffee mugs.

This year’s Art in Bloom will feature a selection of local artisan collaborations with Cathy Boytos, Sophia Woo, Vietri, Layla Christie, and more.

To Take Shape and Meaning: Form and Design in Contemporary American Indian Art

Don’t forget your ticket to Art in Bloom includes admission to this temporary exhibit in the East Gallery (otherwise $20 for non-members/ free for members).

The exhibit features work by 75 Indigenous artists from over 50 tribes throughout the United States and Canada, including eight from North Carolina showcasing a wide range of Indigenous world views, ideas, experiences, traditions, cultures, and media.

The 3-D artworks include baskets made of blown glass, cars transformed into works of art, and cutting-edge fashion ensembles embellished with elaborate beadwork and feathers.

Why visit the Art in Bloom festival?

floral arrangement in front of painting in nc art museum
Art and flower lovers rejoice!

Firstly, it happens in the beginning of March, and y’all know after a long winter, we’re all dying to get out of hibernation and experience healthy signs of Spring. What better way to do that than walking amongst flowers?

Art and flower lovers come not just for the visual glory, but for opportunity to see the dynamic interplay between the visual arts and the ephemeral beauty of nature.

 

The festival not only highlights the creative talent of florists and artists but also encourages a deeper connection with the museum’s permanent collection. The innovative interpretations of renowned artworks offer fresh perspectives and ignite conversations about the intersection of art and nature.

And if it’s a clear day, it’s a great opportunity to roam around the sculpture garden after with your visiting group. You can even enjoy lunch at the museum café in the East Gallery. Take your time to see why the NC Museum of Art is the best art museum in Raleigh, if not North Carolina (or even further!)

Be sure to read our guide to the NC Museum of Art, including the Anne and Jim Goodnight Sculpture Park

What about parking for the NC Museum of Art?

Young girl standing between two vertical mirror sculptures
Fun in the Sculpture Garden

We all know how much of a worry parking is for you in Raleigh. There is a lot of parking at the NCMA campus, and we got parking easily enough last year. HOWEVER, this is a popular event, so it’s a great idea to carpool if you can, or you can arrive by bus route 27.

There are greenway trails surrounding the museum (We love the Art to Heart trail) so another option is to arrive by bike! I reckon that will only make the Art in Bloom experience that much better.

You can see the Art to Heart trail in the video below:

In Summary: Art in Bloom is a must-see Raleigh event in 2024

flowers in wooden frame in art gallery
Enjoy the start of Spring!

What better way to enjoy the start of Spring in Raleigh than a celebration of creativity, nature, and the enduring power of artistic expression.

Join the blooming festivities and let the floral magic transport you into a world where art and nature coalesce in a breathtaking symphony. Perhaps you’ll walk out with a new hobby. Don’t forget your camera!

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