The Passion Behind the Flower: Origin of “The Official Flower of Athens”

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By: Sarah Newgarde

ATHENS, Ohio—Passion Works Studio is home to many artists of all abilities and the now infamous “Official Flower of Athens”, the Passion Flower.

The goal of the flower is simple: allow all artists to express themselves however they choose. According to Program Director Nancy Epling, it all started as a sketch.

“Carolyn Williams… one of our original artists. And she liked to draw flowers. And then finally, someone was like, ‘Well why don’t we try to translate the drawn flowers onto the metal and cut out these petal shapes,’” said Epling. “So she’s the one who designed the petal shapes and what you see today is essentially a later version of the original Passion Flower.”

Artists are paid to paint the sheet metal a flat color and then draw whatever strikes them in the moment. In Epling’s opinion, it is important that the artists are not limited.

“Anybody can draw anything and then people paint on them. So the artists are paid to paint or draw; whatever they want,” said Epling.