The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio has partnered with OSU to present ‘Flower Power: Flora in Fashion’

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LANCASTER, Ohio (WOUB) – For the first time, the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio has partnered with the Historic Costumes and Textiles Collection at the Ohio State University to put on an exhibition exploring history through humankind and its natural environment.

Although the exhibition explores history, there is a message beyond that.

“There’s not really a history element to this exhibit,” said Gayle Strege, the exhibition curator.

Dresses, buttons and accessories with colorful floral motifs fill the rooms of the exhibition. Strege says the exhibition has dresses from different time periods in the twentieth century ranging from the 1920s to the 1990s.

“We’re not really concentrating on, ‘oh this type of floral motif was used here’, and ‘this type of floral motif was used there,” Strege said. “We’re just kind of looking at a more thematic use of the floral motifs, so it’s more of an art exhibit than a history exhibit.”

Strege says the visual impact is important, and the psychology of the color has a feeling into itself.

“When I was walking through it yesterday, it just makes you feel good,” Strege said.

Strege said the colors align with different time periods in the growing season. Each room is dedicated to a different color theme.

“The idea is to start in the blue and purple room and work your way around as the colors kind of get more hot at the end,” Strege said. “It’s kind of a little seasonal, and a cooler and earlier spring into a warmer and hot summer.”

Executive Director of the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, Jason Crabill, said Strege has done an incredible job selecting pieces that have a narrative thread. He said it helps to engage people and move them through the space while teaching them something.

“They’re so interesting to look at and they encourage so much conversation about, ‘oh I remember my grandma’s button collection’, and ‘this looks like something’,” Crabill said. “There’s so many points of engagement throughout the exhibit that are really powerful and really engaging for folks.”

Crabill said the opportunities to think about the collections and the stories is a highlight.

“The pieces are the experience,” Crabill said. “The buttons I’m sitting in front of are an incredible addition of just wow experience.”

The exhibition opened in the beginning of February. Strege said the opening happened at the perfect time of year.

“This would be at least something that would brighten things up significantly,” Strege said. “Maybe, you know, have people think that, yes spring is coming and be happy and hopeful.”

With Ohio’s weather being gray and cold this time of year, Crabill said there is an energy in this exhibit that’s perfect for the space and when they are exhibiting it.

There were a high number of visitors on opening weekend, and the exhibition has sparked positive feedback.

“They usually leave saying, ‘I gotta bring somebody, or I didn’t know about this,” Crabill said.  “Or, ‘I can’t believe I’ve never been here before’, or ‘I gotta bring someone else.”

The exhibition will be on display until the end of April.

For more information about the exhibit, visit