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Philly florists bring beauty back to voting with public installations across the region

Philly florists bring beauty back to voting with public installations across the region

Maura Feeney or Maura Rose Floral creates a floral arrangement next to a voting drop box at Spring Garden Street and Delaware Avenue as part of the United by Blooms nonpartisan voting project. Feeney worked with Cassie Plummer of Jig-Bee Flower Farm on the design. HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer Siblings Thi Lam and Ngoc Lam-Mathis, who immigrated from Vietnam to Philadelphia as children, have always have always found something beautiful about voting.

But this year, the brother-and-sister florists — co-owners of Floraltology in the city’s Elmwood section — have watched as politicians and pundits alike have dragged the voting process through the dirt (and not the nutrient-rich kind that’s good for growth).

What they do have is flowers — a lot of them. So in an effort to highlight the beauty of voting and nip the negativity in the bud, they’ve teamed up with 15 other florists across the Philadelphia region, New York, and New Jersey for United by Blooms , a nonpartisan outdoor floral installation event from Oct. 14-to-16 aimed at promoting voting.

“By incorporating it with flowers, we bring back a positive connotation to the actual process of voting,” Lam said. United by Blooms is the brainchild of farmer-florist Kate Carpenter, co-owner of EMA (East Mount Airy) Blooms . Participating florists and growers, who donated their time and flowers to the project, were asked to provide a positive public experience while raising awareness about voting. Designers were encouraged to put their installations near mailboxes or ballot drop boxes (but not on them), to highlight voting by mail and the necessity of the United States Postal Service, which has faced its share of heavy criticism this year, too.

“It’s an opportunity to thank the postal workers, who are essential workers, and to get the community engaged about participating in our democracy,” said Carpenter, 35. “Plus, it gives growers and designers the chance to take their talents to the streets of Philadelphia and give people something to enjoy right now.” Kate Carpenter and Courtney Jewell of East Mount Airy Blooms decorated around this mailbox at the corner of Green Street and Carpenter Lane in Mount Airy as part of Carpenter’s United by Blooms project. The project aims to raise awareness of voting, especially by mail, through floral installations. Carpenter’s design, which she created with her business partner, Courtney Jewell, was inspired, in part, by the rainbows people placed in their windows for children’s scavenger hunts during the height of quarantine. Several rainbow-colored chalk paths lead to the installation at Green Street and Carpenter Lane in Mount Airy, where flowers crawl up a stop sign and flow out from underneath the mailbox nearby. A QR code at the site takes visitors to a map with the locations of the other installations.

At 58th Street and Elmwood Avenue in Southwest Philly, the mother-and-daughter team of Nicole Griffith and Domino Mack from DNA Floral incorporated the very weeds growing under the mailbox at that corner into their vibrant floral design. They used magnetic letters to spell […]

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