Art in Bloom 2024 with a Focus on Shoes

Art is where you find it—often in museums, sometimes on museum floors—and your reaction to it is invariably singular.

On Thursday, March 14th, I attended the Art in Bloom “Decades Show” at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) with my friend and host, Caroline. Although the theme was decades (think: roaring twenties, nifty fifties, etc.) I was definitely focused on footwear.

Here’s how Art in Bloom works: Each artist chooses an inspirational piece of art, and crafts a corresponding floral arrangement.

Wedding cake shoes

A pair of pink “wedding cake” shoes inspired me to remove my lens cap, directing my attention downward.

White sneakers

White sneakers were prevalent and I made a note to get myself a pair.

Yellow clogs

I love how much care some patrons gave to their outfits. If I weren’t a coward, I would have photographed some of the more outstanding ensembles. Caroline offered to ask several fashionistas permission on my behalf, but I demurred.

Disparaging side-glances

Instead, I continued snapping furtive pictures, earning the disapproval of NCMA’s inhabitants.

Royally suspicious

When a third inanimate onlooker gave me the side eye, I felt chastised, shouldered my Sony, and plunged deeper into the exhibits.

Caroline doing the correct thing

Meanwhile, my host was behaving in a proper manner, appreciating the floral arrangements we had come to see.

Worth a closer look

Still, my concentration wandered more toward the onlookers than the featured content. I wondered what they were thinking as they leaned in towards one item or another.

If I were from another planet—or hadn’t been raised Catholic—the image of a scantily-clad man impaled on two boards would certainly be worth a closer look.

Art is so personal, that it almost seems wrong to appreciate it in public. Maybe that’s what was holding me back. What would happen, I wondered, if I let myself react with wild abandon?


Okay, this one got my attention. Now we’re talking! I thought. I’ve been waiting for color like this all winter, and now, here it was!

Boots and roses

More color. And shoes!

More big color, the way I like it

I asked Caroline to take my picture with another vibrant composition. As for my shoes, I am wearing the tan Teva flats that carried me all over Kumasi, Ghana ten years ago.

Pigeon by Elizabeth Murray

This molten piece was inspired by the work of art on the wall behind it which reminded me of Salvador Dali’s melting clocks.

Digital mosaic

Interactive art is always fun. This camera turned me and Caroline into a mosaic.

Caroline leans in


Cookie in her new hairdo


Woundrous Birds by Hans Thoma

I liked this one because it made me feel like I had wings.

The Woman with a Lion by Rashid Choudhury

My rule is this: If I stare at a painting for more than ten seconds, I have to photograph it. “Where’s the lion?” I kept asking myself. “Is it standing behind me?”

The Chief Who Sold Africa to the Colonists by Samuel Fosso

More shoes!

Oyster standoff

This is a corner of a disturbing painting of dead and mostly-dead animals. Caroline said she began noticing kittens and other domesticated animals lurking in centuries-old paintings a few years ago. We wondered how on earth a seal made it into the kitchen, and marveled at the bold little cat defending that basket of oysters from such a large creature.

In Timelessness We Built Our Temple Black by Lina Iris Viktor

Caroline liked the gold foil in this multi-media project.

Cute! And yes, shoes again.

I waited for this one to move, it felt so eerily alive.

This nearly-human sculpture, fashioned from small buttons, stopped me cold.

Another mind boggler

So much for hanging around. Until, next time, that was my latest foray into the art world.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

2 replies on “Art in Bloom 2024 with a Focus on Shoes”

Looked like a fun day at least! Did you have any strange dreams? I often wonder how artists get so darn creative! I just can’t do it.

Don't be shy - leave a comment!