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Parties: A Super Bloom For The Season

By Catherine Bigelow

Jennifer Forbeck and Tracy Barsotti
Jennifer Forbeck and Tracy Barsotti

Bouquets To Art

Attendees: 500 on opening night; 6K virtual tours; 14K in-person tours during Bouquets run
Result: Program support for FAMSF


Spring — along with hydrangea, hyacinth, succulents, billy balls, bamboo and delphinium — was busting out all over at the de Young Museum last month for Bouquets to Art, the beloved floriferous homage to museum works created by local floral designers.

Hosted by the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums — led by event co-chairs Tracy Barsotti and Jennifer Forbeck, with Auxiliary President Karen Mohr — Bouquets is FAMSF’s largest annual fundraiser. For almost 40 years, this all-volunteer corps has contributed more than $7.5 million to support special exhibitions, conservation projects and education programs at the de Young and the Legion of Honor museums.

But, like all things in 2021, this year’s Bouquets (June 8–13) was different. Capacity was capped, guests were masked, and Wilsey Court was devoid of the traditional and bountiful McCalls canapé stations and cocktail bars, around which a crush of swells typically socializes. Instead, and as it should have been, everyone beelined for the galleries to swoon over museum masterworks reimagined as floral displays. With limited attendance, Bouquets sold out like that. But organizers developed online programming with an inaugural Bouquets virtual tour. And deep-pocketed opening-night patrons were rewarded as they exited through the cafe, carrying home Sossie vino, handcrafted bouquets and a deluxe McCalls meal box.

“As a city-owned institution, our capacity at both museums remains capped at 25 percent,” explains FAMSF Director and CEO Tom Campbell. “So our exhibitions sell out quickly. But it’s clear people are very keen to return to the galleries, experiencing art — especially Bouquets.”

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