A Night of Ikebana at the Arlington Arts Center

Yumiko and Reiko Blackwell at an ikebana demonstration at the Arlington Arts Center.

Yumiko and Reiko Blackwell at an ikebana demonstration at the Arlington Arts Center.

Greta Kuriger Suiter

On Thursday September 12th, I attended a Night of Ikebana at the Arlington Arts Center with fellow art history students Leslie Mounaime and Laura Harvey. Ikebana (“living flowers”) is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. (More on what is Ikebana at the Ikebana International website.)

Reiko Blackwell presented examples of free style ikebana while her daughter Yumiko Blackwell told the audience a little about the different styles and history of ikebana, stories of arranging flowers with her mother, and how ikebana is a big inspiration in her own artwork. The demonstration took place on the second floor of the Arlington Arts Center in a gallery filled with art created by Radio Sebastian, an art collaborative consisting of Yumiko Blackwell and Corwin Levi. The flower arrangements were inspired by the art on display, creating an interesting intersection of culture, tradition, family, collaboration, and contemporary art.


Laura got to take home some left over flowers!


Mirror effect on photo of Mr. Flowers-in-his-Face with ikebana.

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Also on display at the Arts Center is the exhibit Green Acres and on permanent display are three stunning Tiffany stained glass windows.


Dan Devine’s Sheep Farm and Angela and Luke Ebner’s Soil Olympics.



Newton and Helen Harrison’s Survival Series (1970—1973), growing food to eat.


Doug Retzler: The Gourd Palace Spirit House.


Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios stained glass windows. Originally installed in the 1930s at the Abbey Mausoleum in Arlington, VA. The mausoleum was a prestigious burial ground until the 1950s when the Abbey Mausoleum Corporation declared bankruptcy. These are three of thirteen original windows.

Gourd art in the basement!



Greta Kuriger Suiter is completing her last year in the MA program intending to graduate in May 2014. She currently works for Special Collections and Archives at George Mason University as a Processing Specialist and has an interest in contemporary art.

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