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    Curated: Obama White House Designer to Speak at 34th Annual Bouquets to Art

    March 13–18 at the de Young

    Each spring, more than 120 of the Bay Area’s most innovative and sought-after floral designers breathe new life into the de Young’s permanent collection during Bouquets to Art. Now in its 34th year, this highly anticipated weeklong event features a dazzling display of floral arrangements inspired by the de Young’s diverse collection of paintings, objects, and sculptures, as well as the architecture of the building. The event and fundraiser will take place from March 13 through March 18.

    During the event, the galleries will be adorned with elegant and elaborate arrangements, including a large hanging aerial piece by local favorite Ornamento taking over Wilsey Court, the heart of the de Young museum. While the galleries are blooming, the de Young hosts a series of stylish luncheons, lectures, and pop-up discussions by renowned floral experts and tastemakers from around the world.

    The weeklong event launches on Monday, March 12, with a preview opening gala where guests will enjoy the first viewing of the arrangements. Throughout the evening, models wearing ensembles created entirely from fresh flowers, designed by students from City College of San Francisco, will stroll through the museum. Members-only viewing hours will be available Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6 to 8 pm, and photography-free hours will take place Friday morning from 9:30 am to noon.  Over the past 34 years, this beloved event—presented by the volunteer members of the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums—has drawn nearly 800,000 visitors, with net proceeds of over $6 million. Funds from Bouquets to Art help underwrite special exhibitions, conservation projects, and educational programs at the Legion of Honor and the de Young. 

    Obama White House Guest Designer Emily Thompson

    Emily Thompson, guest designer of the Holidays at the White House event during the Obama administration, will be presenting the talk “Flowers, Untamed” at the de Young on Wednesday, March 14, at 10 am. One of several guest speakers during Bouquets to Art, she describes her designs as “wildly beautiful things” that celebrate the natural world.

    Thompson seeks out rare, ill-used, and unlikely flowers, seed pods, branches, and undergrowth to achieve design that creates desire for the obscure. For a look at her floral artistry, we recommend checking out the stunning images featured in the “Work” section at her website ( | #BouquetstoArt | @deyoungmuseum