Recognizing the need to reduce waste and promote eco-friendly practices, The San Diego Museum of Art is devoted to moving Art Alive further forward in practices that support sustainability and a green environment. For this year’s floral exhibition, for example, we are encouraging participating floral designers to use green alternatives to traditional floral foam. All floral design arrangements are returned to the designers after the event and do not enter the Museum’s waste management systems.

We look forward to continually building upon our sustainability efforts, which already include further sustainable practices in the Art Alive rotunda design, Bloom Bash event coordination, and Garden of Activities offerings. Learn more in the below sections.

Sustainable Rotunda Design

Britton Neubacher green botanical design

The 2022 Art Alive Rotunda Designer, Britton Neubacher of Tend Living, was selected in part for her sustainable design principles. Neubacher believes stabilized, no-maintenance plant art is more accessible and longer-lasting with less removal of plant life from nature and disposal. She uses design materials that are 100% natural in origin. This year’s design will use “destabilized” mosses, leafy foliage, and flowers preserved with non-toxic glycerin and non-toxic food coloring. Flower pods and twigs are naturally dried and all materials last a minimum of five years, advancing an alternative to single-use cut flowers and plants as well as plastic faux materials. As a result of this approach, all materials are fully biodegradable. The Art Alive rotunda design will also utilize non-toxic adhesives as an alternative to caustic chemicals and landfill-polluting floral foam. All plant and flower materials can be reused and design units and structures will be disassembled and repurposed or sold as individual art pieces, thereby avoiding single-use waste. Moss remnants will be donated to Balboa Park’s San Diego Model Railroad Museum and repurposed as landscaping elements in their train model dioramas. 

Sustainable Bloom Bash

Bloom Bash continues to push the envelope of event sustainability. For the first time the popular event will not offer nor allow single-use plastics. All water and soda at the event will be served in recyclable cans or glass bottles instead of plastic bottles, and we will continue our practice of eliminating plastic straws. Restaurant food service at the event will continue to use fully compostable flatware that is made of PLA, a plant-based plastic formed with renewable resources to minimize environmental impact upon disposal. Food partners will serve their delectable bites on plates made from bagasse, a by-product of sugarcane processing, to minimize environmental impact upon disposal. In addition, all napkins used for food and beverage service are made from recycled content.

Sustainable Garden of Activities

Images of Art Alive Garden of Activities painted wood art projects and smiling family

The Art Alive Garden of Activities brings hands-on fun for families and youth. Garden of Activities supplies are selected by the Museum’s education team with sustainability in mind. The Museum continues its commitment not to use single-use plastics at Art Alive in the Garden of Activities and instead will be repurposing many of the art activity supplies from other Museum exhibition and education projects. All Garden of Activities take-home products are made from natural, recycled, repurposed, or sustainable materials and are meant to be kept and cherished by participants. Additionally, elements of the collaborative project created by Garden of Activity participants will be repurposed and used in subsequent years.

For more information about ongoing sustainability initiatives at the Museum, please visit the Museum’s sustainability webpage.