A dress is displayed on a mannequin inside an art museum
The Springfield Art Museum handed out $5,000 in cash awards to both fashion and floral designers at the 2023 "Art In Bloom." (Photo: Springfield Art Museum)

More than 2,100 visitors made this year’s “Art In Bloom,” April 28-30 at the Springfield Art Museum the biggest in its four-year history.

The Springfield Art Museum handed out $5,000 in cash awards to participating designers who interpreted works of art on display in the museum’s galleries through floral arrangements or custom-made garments for the special event.

The 2023 juried prize award winners are:

  • Jennifer Herman, Countryside Gardens, $1,000 Best In Show cash award
  • Rcena Maness AIFD CFD, Flowerama, $500 Best Creative Arrangement cash award
  • Neletha Fuemmeler, Hickory Hills Country Club Floral, $500 Best Traditional Technique cash award

This year’s juried prize award winners for floral design were selected by three previous “Art In Bloom” Best In Show award winners: Audry McMannis Sowards (Schaffitzel’s Flowers), Pam Carroll and Raleigh Jones (Wickman’s Garden Village).

The 2023 show was the first year fashion designs were incorporated into the displays and eligible for prize money. In previous years, the fashion designs were included in a live fashion show that could only be viewed at an opening night Preview Party. The Springfield Art Museum added the fashion design element to “Art In Bloom” due to its extreme popularity and to make the event more equitable for the participating designers.

Juried prize award winners for fashion design were determined by Sarah Buhr (Springfield Art Museu), Justin Gannaway (Drury University) and Ria Shaar (Bass Pro Shops). The 2023 winners are:

  • Katie Jankovitz, Norman’s Bridal, $1,000 Best In Show cash award
  • Nate Branscom, Moon City Tailoring & Alterations, $500 Best Creative Design Concept cash award
  • Sara Gonzalez, Ensembles of the Past, $500 Best Traditional Use of Materials cash award

The public was invited to weigh in on their favorite design interpretations. A total of 527 People’s Choice Award votes were cast for both floral design and fashion design. The “Art In Bloom” People’s Choice Award winners for 2023 are:

  • Cherrelle and Samuel Hitchcock, Flora & Forge Flower Farm & Blacksmith, $500 cash award for floral design
  • Kashena Star Northrip, The Fools Gladly, $500 cash award for fashion design

The weekend also included floral design workshops, family art activities and pop-up shops in the Springfield Art Museum parking lot.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger