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Above and Beyond by Mike Pucci

Spectacular only begins to describe a unique floral exhibit and tour held recently in the Detroit, Michigan area. It was called Art in the Elements and it was an inspiring celebration of superb design.  

The weekend-long event was presented by the North Central Regional Chapter of AIFD (American Institute of Floral Designers) and it was held at the former Dodge mansion, a national historic landmark which was once the home of one of the automobile industry’s most notable aristocrats.  

Art in the Elements, with a design theme of “Past, Present and Future,” attracted floral designers from around the country who displayed their versatile talents. Visitors also came from near and far to attend the event. The designers created over a dozen interpreting pieces of art inside the mansion and more than 20 large-scale installations along the woodland paths throughout the property.  

The 88,000 square foot Dodge mansion, which is now called Meadow Brook Hall Estate and is located on the campus of Oakland University, was constructed in 1929. The mansion was home to Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of automobile pioneer John Dodge, and Matilda’s second husband, Alfred Wilson.  

Serving as co-chairs for the Art in the Elements event were: Alice Waterous, AIFD, CFD, CF, PFCI; Laura Parker AIFD, CFD, CF, MBA; and Laura Daluga AIFD, CFD.  

“Seeing how much people who attended enjoyed the creativity was very gratifying,” says Alice. “Help from the Meadow Brook Hall staff (and many others) was amazing! We are so grateful for the generous industry support and amazed that so many fellow professional designers gave us their time, talent and paid their own way to come play in the woods.”  

“This event connects people to floral art, beginning with the designers who get an opportunity to step away from the design bench where they create what the client wants, and step into a space where they have complete creative freedom,” says Laura Parker. “The connection also extends to the public...often they are seeing flowers used as an art medium for the very first time.”  

Suzie Kostick AIFD, CFD, CF, PFCI, was among the featured designers at Art in the Elements. She has created the florals for weddings and events on the Meadow Brook Hall property and she has also been involved in decorating the estate many times for the holidays. “We all have our ‘floral bucket lists.’ For some designers it’s designing flowers for floats, others hope for the opportunity to design for an inaugural ball…the opportunity to work with Meadow Brook Hall is mine,” says Suzie. 

 Proceeds from Art in the Elements will help support the Meadow Brook Hall Garden Club as well as AIFD scholarships and other educational programs. The event was a huge success, and the partnership between the North Central Regional Chapter of AIFD and Meadow Brook Hall will continue for future events.  

“We have set the date for next year’s event...August 13-16, 2020, with the inspiring theme of ‘Storybooks and Fairytales,’” states Laura Daluga. “We are so excited to see this event grow and continue to raise funds for future floral artists’ scholarships.” 

 For more about the history of Meadow Brook Hall, go to