The Art of Floral Design at the Dallas Museum of Art

Story and photos by Jan Osborn.


It is not just another day at the floral shop for Katherine Phillips and Corlie Storey. These two ladies are volunteers with the Dallas Museum of Art League Floral Committee. The League floral committee creates beautiful arrangements every Monday and Thursday to be displayed in three locations throughout the museum. On Monday morning, Dallas Doing Good was invited to go along and take a peek behind the scenes. Next time, we will remember to wear our coats!

Katherine Phillips and Corlie Storey

Katherine Phillips and Corlie Storey

DMA League Floral Committee volunteers Katherine Phillips and Corlie Storey began their day at American Agroproducts to select the flowers for two of this week’s floral arrangements. Katherine and Corlie, who were appropriately dressed for the 36 degree refrigerated section, decided Valentine’s week called for a red color scheme and began their search for just the right greenery and flowers. The ladies had a budget of $40 from the DMA Floral Endowment Fund and were asked to make two of the three floral arrangements this week to be placed in the Museum.

Walking through rows of buckets bursting with color, Corlie and Katherine picked out stems that would bring beauty into a few corners of the museum. When Corlie and Katherine made it to the checkout line they were thrilled to see that they had kept within their budget.

Katherine removing the floral arrangements from last week to make room for the festive Valentine week creation.

Katherine removing the floral arrangements from last week to make room for the festive Valentine week creation.

Both Corlie and Katherine have dedicated their time throughout the Dallas volunteer community. Corlie said that she learned about volunteerism from her grandmother who was on every committee in her small town (The Salvation Army, The Red Cross, etc.) and set an excellent example for all of her grandchildren. Katherine, on the other hand, said that she rolled into Dallas from Amarillo like a tumbleweed, and like Marlo Thomas in “That Girl”, became a workaholic. Once she retired, a girlfriend suggested she join a garden club and Katherine began volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum. From there, she got involved with other women’s organizations, and now volunteers regularly with the women at Nexus Recovery Center. Katherine and Corlie agree that the beautiful fresh flowers throughout the museum add to the art and creativity by bringing a touch of the outside to the inside. “These florals are a bit of God’s creation in the manmade artistic world,” said Katherine. Corlie agreed saying, “The floral designs are another form of art that adds to the beauty around us, making us feel alive.”

Katherine was introduced to the floral design team by a friend she met in the garden club and the work seemed like a natural fit for her. Katherine has been arranging florals at the DMA for over ten years. The Floral Committee is made up of five different teams consisting of 10 to 13 volunteers, led by two committee chairs Sue Flynn and Katherine.   Katherine enjoys getting to know the other league members through the committee.

When asked how she became involved in the floral committee, Corlie, an empty nester and frequent visitor at the DMA, said that she had always wanted to learn how to arrange flowers.  She said, “I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn from some veterans who know exactly what they’re doing.” Corlie had always wanted to volunteer at the DMA but didn’t get involved, not knowing if she could commit the time. When she saw they had a floral committee, Katherine knew it was her next right step, and now she is finishing up her first year. “I’m a newbie to the  committee, and the nice thing is, they always pair you up with someone who has been doing it for years,” said Corlie.

Corlie said that she had never taken any classes on floral arranging and had just worked around her house and had a garden.  “It’s been really fun because I’ve learned a lot. And you know, it’s specific to what they’re going to do for the week. It depends on if you’re doing an arrangement for the European gallery, or if it’s just the smaller arrangements by the offices,” Corlie says. “It is just totally fun and I’m definitely learning as I go.”

Beautiful floral design by Katherine and Corlie.

Beautiful floral design by Katherine and Corlie.

The Dallas Museum of Art League will host their signature fundraiser, Art in Bloom 2020, on Monday, March 2, chaired by Therese Rourk with honorary chair Amy Warren. Art in Bloom benefits the Dallas Museum of Art’s education and exhibition programs, as well as the League’s Floral Endowment Fund.

Net proceeds from this event continue the League’s tradition of more than 80 years of Museum support. The League supports, both with volunteers and funding, a number of Museum programs and exhibitions. The League also leads the Floral Endowment Fund and provides fresh floral arrangements throughout the Museum.

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