Horticulturists and artists alike are pretty excited about this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show.
Anticipating a walk through the vast array of American landscapes makes it pretty hard not to be.
The organizers of the 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show know this all too well, which is exactly why they chose the theme to wow guests as they enter the show, which begins March 4. Those attending the Flower Show this year can expect to be greeted in the “Big Timber Lodge” by National Park Service Rangers in the entrance exhibit. There they will experience intricately designed Native American-inspired art expected to include a 14-foot waterfall, floral totems and a carved, life-size American buffalo sculpture by artist Emily White. White has also created a bear made partially from recycled tin specifically for the Flower Show.
Featured artists will be using a variety of mediums to make the Flower Show come to life.
“We wanted to create something that recreated the journey of exploring. So we gave them the experience people dream about when going into a national park and that’s a lodge setting. Ours is called Big Timber Lodge,” said Sam Lemheney, chief of shows and events for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, who brings with him experience in horticultural design from places including Disney’s Epcot.
“All designers in the show and competitive class designers have chosen a different park to serve as their exhibit. These parks will serve as the inspiration for their pieces,” said Lemheney.
Those works of art will be accentuated through projections and lighting done by Klip Collective, a Philadelphia-based art shop that specializes in technological storytelling. As guests walk through the live garden filled with hyacinths, crocuses and other woodland flowers, life-like videos on overhead screens will be accompanied by wilderness sounds to provide an immersive experience.
This isn’t Klip Collective’s first moment to shine either. The group has not only been the technological mastermind behind previous Flower Show projections but has also showcased its use of new and interactive media with several projects across the country. Klip Collective provided projections and lighting at the kickoff of Philadelphia’s 2015 Red Bull Art of Can, an art competition that asked contestants to create art inspired by the Red Bull can. It then took the audio-visual designs created by attendees and projected them across the façade of Philadelphia’s City Hall. Their work with projection and lighting has also assisted groups such as Temple University, MSNBC, New Balance, Target and Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim with campaigning or branding.
“They are going to be working with us to produce the imagery and video that will bring the parks to life,” explained Lemheney. “They’re doing a short film that will take you through a day in the life of a national park. They’ve been working with us now for about five years and we’ve become comfortable with their creativity and their style and are pleased that they’ve become part of the team.”
For this year’s show, Lemheney joins the rest of the guests and artists in their excitement for the plethora of exhibits he thinks will be a hit with all ages.
“One of the things I think will be popular is the Railway Garden,” said Lemheney. “It’s sponsored by Amtrak and all the trains are provided by Bachmann. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Garden Railway Society is creating scenes these trains will go through ... We’re really excited about that and I think the visitors will be excited as well.”