Cleveland Public Library dazzles visitors with 500,000 floating flowers
Inside the Downtown Cleveland Public Library colorful curtains of dried flowers appear to float before your eyes.
It’s the vision of British artist Rebecca Louise Law and was assembled with hundreds of Northeast Ohio hands for Law's latest exhibition, "The Archive."
Annually, the public art group LAND Studio collaborates with the library to host new work by acclaimed artists for the library’s See Also series.
Inviting Law this year was the idea of LAND Studio's director of arts and special projects, Erin Guido.
“Rebecca Louise Law has just been on my artist crush list forever,” Guido said. “She is best known for these installations that are stringing flowers, but she has a pretty extensive artistic practice with lots of materials.”
“The Archive” is a collection of about 400,000 dried flowers from Law's previous exhibits with the addition of about another 100,000 from Northeast Ohio.
“People were bringing them. We were saving them from funeral homes that were going to throw them out, grocery stores, drying them and then stringing them,” Guido said.
The local flowers on view were assembled by hundreds of Northeast Ohio volunteers.
“Rebecca came to town and taught us how to string them on the copper wire, and we divided them into different types, different colors,” Guido said. “We had volunteers helping immensely to string up all them on the copper wire.”
The Cleveland Public Library’s director of arts and culture, Tiffany Graham Charkosky, sees the exhibit each day at work and marvels at the scale of the show, noticing different parts of it on different days.
“You see things, and you think, ‘How has that been here this whole time?’” Charkosky said.
While the See Also series has long taken place outdoors in the Cleveland Public Library’s Eastman Reading Garden, an exhibit of dried flowers needed to be indoors. Given the recent pandemic the library’s CEO and executive director Felton Thomas Jr. said that’s a bonus.
“We've been bringing more people back into the library, which is really important for us.” Thomas said. “To have something that people are drawn to, that people are talking about on social media and they want to come into our institution and see has been really a big plus for us.”
“The Archive” by Rebecca Louise Law is on view at the Cleveland Public Main Library through May 2024.