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Art in Bloom

Because the health and safety of the Milwaukee community is our highest priority, the Museum’s popular Art in Bloom was canceled. To all who have supported this event in the past—and to all the florists, vendors, volunteers, and partners who have contributed to its success—thank you. We look forward to celebrating with you next year.

In an effort to spread a little joy during this challenging time, we are bringing you a few Art in Bloom features and highlights.

Flowers in Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum

“Throughout history, artists have been drawn to flowers for their natural beauty and their symbolism. Flowers have been used as the primary subject of a painting, as details within a larger image, and as motifs on decorative art objects. Many artworks in the Museum’s collection feature flowers. Explore a few of them below, and click through to read the accompanying blog posts.” —Catherine Sawinski, assistant curator of European art

Virtual Workshops

Every year at Art in Bloom, florists and gardening experts lead informative and inspirational hands-on workshops. Though we cannot meet in person this year, you can watch one (or both!) of the following recorded workshops, led by florists who were planning to participate in Art in Bloom 2020.

Succulents for Any Space

Melissa Maas, Owner, Bank of Flowers

Learn how to plant and nurture a succulent garden.

Spring Design

Emily Neubauer, Owner, Belle Fiori

Create a flower arrangement inspired by works in the Museum’s collection.

Behind the Scenes at Beauty in Bloom

At the Museum’s popular, annual Floral Fashion Show, guests see stunning gowns and accessories that local artisans made entirely out of blooms. But what goes into these pieces before they reach the runway?

Watch as Nicole Wright, owner and lead designer of The Pink Peony, assembles a dress that would have debuted at the 2020 Beauty in Bloom.

Relive last year’s fashion show through photographs, including never-before-shown images from backstage.

2019 Beauty in Bloom: Behind the Scenes

From the Café: Springtime Recipes

Treat yourself to something sweet as you explore the flowers and art online. Here are two recipes to try at home, courtesy of the Museum’s Food & Beverage team.

Water Lily Cocktail

Yield: Makes one cocktail


  • ¾ oz. triple sec
    Orange-flavor liqueur substitutes: Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Curaçao
    Non-alcoholic substitute: orange extract
  • ¾ oz. crème de violette
    Non-alcoholic substitute: violet syrup by Monin
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. gin
    Brand variety: Bloom London ($30, 750 ml), Tanqueray ($27, 750 ml), Beefeater ($18, 750 ml)
    Non-alcoholic substitute: tonic water
  • Strip of orange zest, for garnish


  1. Combine triple sec, crème de violette, lemon juice, and gin into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake* vigorously, and strain into a coupe, or a stemmed, shallow saucer glass. You can also serve in any stemmed martini glass or wine glass. The stem will keep the drink chilled for a longer period of time.
  3. Garnish with orange zest.

*Why shake instead of stir? Shaking your cocktail will help to completely integrate all of the drink’s ingredients and create one consistent flavor. You will not get the same taste if the cocktail is stirred.

Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies

(One of Executive Chef Jamie Nelson’s favorite cookie recipes!)

Yield: Makes approximately two dozen cookies

Before starting, please note: When cooking or baking with any edible flower, be sure the blooms that you are using are culinary grade or organically grown by yourself. Flowers from florists have often been treated with chemicals and fertilizers that are not suitable for consumption.

Lavender, a relative of mint, has violet flowers and green or pale grey leaves. Both the flowers and leaves of this plant are edible.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried lavender
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pure cane sugar for sprinkling


  1. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. Place 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, lavender, and lemon zest in a mortar and grind lightly with the pestle. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can also achieve the same result by pulsing the lavender, sugar, and zest in a blender or food processor.
  3. Place the lavender mixture in a large bowl with the remaining sugar and butter. Cream together until smooth. Mix in the vanilla. Lastly, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until it forms a dough.
  4. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  6. Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds (you can use cookie cutters or even a water glass for this), and place on the prepared sheet. Sprinkle with some pure cane sugar, then place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  8. Bake cookies for 12–14 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Support the Museum

As a nonprofit arts organization, we rely heavily on events like Art in Bloom, whose proceeds support safeguarding and showcasing the art in the collection, keeping the buildings and grounds in tip-top shape, and presenting educational and enrichment programs for all ages. Though this event is canceled, you can still help! Make a donation through the link below, or become a Member* today.

Make a Donation »

*All new and renewing Members will have the option to have their membership extended for the amount of time the Museum is closed.

Museum Store

Browse a curated selection of flower-related items online. Your online purchases will be shipped and charged to your credit card when Wisconsin’s Safer-at-Home order ends.

Start Shopping »

Florists + Marketplace Vendors

Please consider supporting the local florists and vendors who were planning to participate in the 2020 Art in Bloom. Follow the links below to visit their websites.

Young girl browsing the floral artwork of local vendors


Marketplace Vendors

Past Floral Arrangements

Reminisce on previous years, as you explore photographs of the stunning, art-inspired arrangements that were on display at the last three Art in Bloom events.

Stay Connected

Sign up for the Museum’s eNewsletter to stay up-to-date on Art in Bloom 2021.