Flower Power

Mizzou floral team competes in the Windy City

The Mizzou Student American Institute of Floral Designers (SAIFD) sent a team this summer to Chicago to compete and network with more than 800 fellow floral design artists at the annual national symposium.

10406528_10152586547891079_229217840290505349_nThe Mizzou AIFD Student Chapter attends 2014 symposium in Chicago. From left: Gina Olsen, Becky Melton, Spencer Hoagland, Leslieghan Craft, Courtney Kirby, Hanna Souther.
10277612_10152586547596079_3054398359427764623_nCourtney Kirby prepares to utilize fresh new materials to create a floral arrangement for competition.

The team competed against 12 other colleges and universities in the Annual Student Design Competition to create inspiring floral arrangements for a variety of occasions.

Mizzou team members were recognized for outstanding performance in several areas. Lesleighan Kraft, a graduate student in agricultural education, placed 8th in wedding design with her bridal bouquet and 10th in arrangement design with her art gallery piece. Spencer Hoagland, a senior in plant sciences, placed 10th in body flower design with her “mother of the bride” piece. As a team, Mizzou placed 6th overall in wedding design.

“The objective is to create unique, fundamentally sound arrangements based on the elements and principles of design with the materials provided in the allotted time,” said Kim Martin, Tiger Garden manager.

Gina Olsen prepares a piece to be judgedGina Olsen prepares a piece to be judged

Judging criteria is based on a broad range of design standards, and the competition includes four arenas: Arrangement, Body Flowers, Wedding and Sympathy. Students use their own tools, but are provided a surprise array of materials that are revealed when teams enter the room at the start of the competition. While top three prizes in each category are awarded trophies, winners of each of the four divisions also receive scholarships.

While in Chicago, the team had a schedule chock-full of networking, workshops, receptions, presentations and volunteering in the design room. In addition, the team found time to supplement work with a few hours of play, shopping on the Magnificent Mile (a landmark shopping destination) and touring local attractions. The team spent the Fourth of July watching fireworks at the Navy Pier.

The team was able to take away not only a valuable professional experience, but new-founded personal connections.

“As an instructor and leader of the group, I think one of the biggest things students take away from symposium is a greater understanding of career opportunities,” Martin said. “The floral industry is everywhere, it’s not just your mom and pop floral shops. There are career opportunities everywhere and symposium allows students to make the connections needed to get internships and start their floral careers.”

The Mizzou team was officially organized in August 2012. The team is a student chapter of the AIFD, whose mission is to advance the art of professional floral design through education, service and leadership, and to recognize the achievement of excellence in this art form. Student teams not only compete in the Annual Student Design Competition during AIFD’s National Symposium but also host and attend Artist in Residence Programs throughout the year.