By Maquette Reeverts | Alberta Art Works
When Portland Flower Market suppliers realized in March that they had to close their doors due to COVID-19 – and that their stock was to be thrown away – Jocelyn Kehrle with Mayesh Wholesale Florist rallied the troops and came up with a much better idea.
The idea? Give the flowers to local floral designers who, in turn, would “flower bomb” the city.
The repurposing of the flowers and greenery honored the hard work of the farmers and workers who planted, cared for and harvested the flora. Instead of being composted, the flowers became a love letter to the city.
Kaitland Menasco, owner and designer of Royal Blooms and a neighbor, designed Alberta Street’s flower bomb and created her arrangement on the northeast corner of its intersection with 21st Avenue.
Her design grew from the corner, disguising the chain link fence surrounding the vacant lot of Volkswagens being repaired.
“I chose that spot because of the mural in the background that reads ‘keep your chin up,’” Kaitland said. “I thought it was a powerful statement, especially now.”
She designed her arrangement organically, allowing the design to ebb and flow like water to symbolize the ebb and flow of the current situation. She wanted to contribute to her community by creating this temporary spot to literally stop and smell the roses.
The project was called #FlowerTourPDX and, with a downloadable map, everyone was invited to take a drive-by tour of the various creations.
But for those on their daily outings who didn’t know the grand plan, there was unexpected color and beauty they welcomed during a strange and stressful time.
Michel Reeverts, aka Maquette, holds a master of arts degree in art education, serves Alberta Art Works as director and Alberta Street Gallery as a board member. She is also a practicing artist. Contact her at Maquette@AlbertaArtWorks.org