Yellow, orange, and red flowers arranged in front of a yellow sketch of an upside-down bird

Art in Bloom

We are kicking off spring with Art in Bloom, brought to you virtually! Enjoy new floral features, favorites, and highlights for 2021 until we can see you again next year.

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.


Art in Bloom florists are the heart of the event. Please consider supporting the local florists who were planning to participate in the Museum’s 2020 & 2021 events. Visit their websites and show your support of our local community!

Are you a florist interested in participating in Art in Bloom?

Art in Bloom welcomes florists to create inspiring floral installations inspired by a piece of art from the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection galleries. These creations are displayed in the galleries for the four-day event that has become the hallmark of spring in Milwaukee. Florists must have a resale permit or be from an accredited organization based in Wisconsin in order to be eligible. Please fill out the Museum’s Vendor Application Form to receive further information on our 2022 event.

From the Café: Springtime Recipes

Art in Bloom continually inspires the Food & Beverage Department at the Museum. We believe these beverages will have you looking at the geranium, often a houseplant or annual flower, with renewed interest! Drink and eat with gratitude for florals, art, and springtime!

Three ladies enjoying drinks surrounded by floral arrangements and pieces

Geranium Fizz

With the floral ingredient at the forefront, accompanied by bubbles as its name suggests, this lovely, flowery drink pairs well with Chef Jamie’s recommended Spring Leek Tart.


  • 4–5 large fresh geranium leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½–1 tablespoon sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 ounce Lillet
  • 2 ounces gin
  • champagne (or sparkling white wine), to finish
  • lemon peel and small geranium leaf, to garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the geranium leaves, sugar and lemon juice. (1/2 tablespoon of sugar for a less sweet drink, adjust to your needs)
  2. Add the Lillet, gin, a handful of ice and shake.
  3. Strain into two champagne flutes (or wine glasses), leaving about an inch and a half of space.
  4. Add the champagne (or sparkling white wine).
  5. Garnish with the lemon peel and small geranium leaves.


No Lillet on hand, no problem. Feel free to omit the Lillet and increase the champagne (or sparkling white wine).

No geranium leaves on hand, no problem. Treat yourself to a bottle of Geranium Gin and enjoy the delicate floral cast. The mild, slightly citrusy aroma leads to a light rosewater sweetness.

Geranium Lemonade

Make a small batch of a refreshing non-alcoholic geranium beverage.
Yield: Makes about 1½ quarts


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 8 scented geranium leaves
  • ½–¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice



  1. Bring the sugar and 2 cups of the water to a boil in a small (1-quart) saucepan.
  2. Add the geranium leaves, cover, and remove from the heat.
  3. Let the syrup steep for at least 30 minutes.


  1. Strain the syrup into a pitcher.
  2. Stir in ½ cup lemon juice and the remaining 4 cups water. Taste and add more lemon juice to taste.
  3. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Spring Leek Tart


  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon iodized sal
    For baking, I use iodized salt because the grains are fine and are mixed into the product easier. If I am making a recipe that requires sifting, iodized salt granules will go through the sifter, whereas larger granule salts like kosher or sea salt will not pass through the sieve.
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water


  • 5 medium leeks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    Iodized salt is fine to use here. I use kosher salt while cooking because the grains are larger and it is easier to see just how much you are using when seasoning a dish.
  • ½–¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½–¾ cup Gruyere cheese or parmesan if you prefer
    Freshly grate the cheese yourself, if you have the means. Using pre-packaged grated cheese can lead to a grainy texture in the finished product due to the anti-caking coating added to the cheese.


Tart Crust

  1. In a large bowl, stir the flour and salt until blended. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or fork until the shortening pieces are the size of peas. Gradually add just enough water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork or your hands just until the dough holds together and forms a smooth ball. Too much mixing or kneading will cause the crust to be tough.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball. Flatten into ½-inch-thick disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, rolling from center outward. Roll dough into an 11-inch circle. Lay the crust in a 9-inch round tart pan. Let the crust fall into place, gently moving it into the edges without stretching the dough (stretching will cause it to shrink as it bakes). Trim off any excess dough around the edge of the pan. Chill until ready to use.

Tart Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Clean the leeks, remove the root end and dark green leaves, halve them lengthwise, and cut them into thin slices. Rinse any grit or dirt off the sliced leeks. (I’ve found that the best way to do this is to place the cut leeks in a deep bowl and run cold water over them, gently swirling the leeks around in the bowl in the process. Then leave the bowl with the leeks and water to sit for a few minutes. This will allow all of the grit to settle to the bottom so you can scoop the clean leeks off of the top. Pat the leeks dry with a towel.)
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until the leeks are very tender. (Do not brown the leeks, allow them to slowly cook completely.)
  4. Add the cream. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture cook to blend the flavors and reduce the liquid, usually about 5 minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the pepper. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the leek mixture to the crust, and spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the tart. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet (to prevent you from having to clean your oven in case the mixture boils over). Bake the tart for 30–35 minutes, until it’s bubbly and golden brown on top.
  6. Let the tart sit at least 10 minutes before cutting. This tart is great served warm or cold, making it a great item for any meal or snack!

Garden Club’s 100th Anniversary

New visitors to Art in Bloom may best recognize members of Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club by the yellow aprons they wear as they volunteer and assist the Museum in welcoming more than 14,000 attendees into the event. While their involvement in this event began in 2008 when they introduced the idea of Art in Bloom to the Museum, the Garden Club’s relationship with the Museum first began one hundred years ago. In 1921, The Garden Club was organized by Dudley Crafts Watson, director of the Milwaukee Art Institute (now the Milwaukee Art Museum) and two avid gardeners, Mrs. George Lines and Miss Gertrude Sherman, who were both members of the Milwaukee Art Institute. Watson was uniquely suited to start a garden club that was connected to the Milwaukee Art Institute. He was an artist in his own right, best known for his florals and marine landscapes, an excellent and much sought-after art and travel lecturer, and a proponent of Women’s Clubs.

Starting a garden club was not unique in 1921. The first garden club was started in Athens, Georgia, in 1891. From the late 1800s to the 1920s, Women’s Clubs were established across the country because they provided the only opportunity for most women to share their creativity and leadership skills to influence the world around them. Clubs were established for many interests such as music, literature, and social issues. Women interested in gardening, parks, community beautification, and the environment joined or started garden clubs because women were excluded from botany and horticultural organizations. Today, both women and men belong to garden clubs.

This year we celebrate the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club during their 100th anniversary year. As charter members of the Milwaukee District Garden Club and Wisconsin Garden Club Federation, the Museum’s Garden Club is one of nineteen original state garden clubs that, in 1929, formed National Garden Clubs, Inc. The Garden Club is proud to be part of the movement which brought about the unification of garden clubs on local, state, and national levels.

Today the Garden Club endeavors to support the Museum with specific projects and acquisitions to further its mission. Garden Club members promote the fine arts of gardening, floral arranging, landscape design, horticulture, and conservation.

Woman smiling and holding out her hand to touch a floral arrangement

Stretching Space and Imagination with Vertical Gardening

Watch as Mark Dwyer, owner of the landscape consulting company Landscape Prescriptions by MD and recent retiree after 21 years as director of Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI, provides vertical gardening ideas while demonstrating how to combine functionality with beauty in small spaces.

This presentation was a winter program of the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club. To become a Member or to learn more about the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club, visit our website.

Save the Date—Open Days

The Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club is supporting Open Days, a national program of the Garden Conservancy, by arranging the opening of four private gardens. The Open Days program, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, consists of self-guided tours of the country’s most exciting, creative, and innovative private gardens. On August 28, four outstanding private gardens will be open for the public to tour in Whitefish Bay, Bayside, and River Hills. Three of the gardens will also be available to tour on August 29. Tickets go on sale June 1. For more information, please visit gardenconservancy.org/open-days.

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 all!) of the following recorded workshops, led by florists who were planning to participate in Art in Bloom 2021.

Spring Design: Trends in 2021

Emily Neubauer, Belle Fiori

Learn the latest floral design trends—as well as time-honored tips and tricks—as Emily walks you through creating a full floral arrangement from start to finish.

Armature Style Arranging

Nancy Witte-Dycus, Fantasy Flowers & Gifts

Professional florist Nancy shares her 45 years of expertise by demonstrating armature style floral arranging, which combines a variety of flower styles and textures to create a striking effect.

Orchid Structures

Lisa Belisle, Flora Elements Education and Design

Follow along with Lisa to create your own orchid flower arrangement, inspired by the Japanese kokedama method, using beautiful and easy-to-find phalaenopsis orchids.

Museum Store: Floral-Inspired Shopping

Shop our online store to discover a fresh selection of floral- and art-inspired merchandise. Receive your choice of the pictured items as your gift with your online order through April 25, 2021. Explore each of the store’s Art in Bloom categories to find prizes that you can register to win.

Start shopping »
Collection of cards, buttons, and magnets from the Museum store featuring flowers and birds

At Home Flower Projects

The Museum’s education department has been busy finding creative ways to bring art into people’s homes with a plethora of fun, virtual art-making videos. Enjoy these hand-picked favorites from our education team to celebrate Art in Bloom:

Kohl’s Art Studio

Kohl’s Art Studio is a joint effort between Kohl’s and the Milwaukee Art Museum to bring area kids and their families closer to art—to discover more about it—and involve them in creative art experiences. The studio is the place to engage in hands-on art projects and create something all your own.

Young girl creating floral-inspired art with watercolor

While the Kohl’s Art Studio at the Museum is currently closed, bring the creativity of the studio into your home by exploring the art-making activities below.

Bouquet of flowers made out of various types and colors of paper

Make Your Own Flower Still Life

Dianne Choie, youth & family programs educator, shows you how easy it can be to create paper flowers at home inspired by the gorgeous blooms you can find in artworks throughout the Museum’s galleries.

Start creating »

Floral Furniture

Brett Henzig, youth & family programs educator, shows you how to repurpose chipboard boxes into fancy, miniature furniture inspired by the work of artist Zulma Steele.

Story Time in the Galleries: At Home

We’re bringing the storytelling to you, at home! Each session starts with a look at a Museum artwork, and ends with a related activity. Story Time in the Galleries is sponsored by Four-Four and an anonymous donor.

My Friend Earth

Celebrate spring with a look at Jan van Os’s painting Flowers in Terra-cotta Vase. Then hear Emily read My Friend Earth, by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Francesca Sanna.

Marketplace Vendors

Please consider supporting the local shops who were planning to participate in the Museum’s 2020 and 2021 events. Visit their websites and show your support of our local community!

Two women looking at canvas art

Support Your 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 »

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.

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

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