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A music festival that will bring some of Michigan’s best local music and art talent together on Dec. 21, FutureDream 3 is more than just an entertainment event. Sponsored by Michigan artist Tetra, its goal is to raise funds for the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation. Also in attendance will be Anthony Flowers Ward, a visionary floral artist and sculptor and the author of the 2017 book “Being With Flowers.”
“I believe flowers have been a longtime partner in the advancement of human consciousness,” Ward told Between The Lines. “Eckhart Tolle speaks of this in his groundbreaking book ‘A New Earth.’ His hypothesis is that they were the first thing humans really looked at deeply and enjoyed … just because they were beautiful and inviting. This concentration on beauty lifted our species up in a revolutionary manner with feelings of love and joy that were until then not really explored.”
To date, Ward has decorated spaces for visionary leaders including the Dalai Lama, Ram Dass and Maya Angelou. He has performed with a number of national touring acts, including Spearhead, STS9, Emancipator, Desert Dwellers and at the San Francisco Jazz Festival in 2002. At the event, Ward will be doing a reading from his book and giving a demonstration earlier in the day at 2 p.m. at Armageddon Beachparty Lounge.
“If I am moved by the music it is possible that a wonderful co-creation can happen,” Ward said. “These days, most of my on-stage performance is done with electronic music producers. I am so excited to be creating with the amazing musical genius called Tetra for my first time in Detroit. I am also very grateful she invited me to share my art at Future Dream 3, a benefit for a very worthy cause.”
Ward’s own love of flowers stems from his childhood.
“When I was visiting my grandparents as a young child I was quite a bit scared of my maternal grandmother,” Ward recalled. “It was obvious how much she loved us all, but she was quite bossy. She was often ordering people to do this or that, but in her garden she would immediately turn into this sweet, gentle person. I was fascinated by this change in her. I would follow her around just to be that energy.”
Ward said he told this story to author Alice Walker, a personal mentor of his. Walker said that the change occurred in his grandmother because “she felt safe in her garden.”
“As I followed my grandmother around, I noticed the flowers and began my own relationship with them,” Ward said.
When Ward began writing his first book, he said that it took a while to finally get published. However, when it get picked up, its popularity and resonance with many made the project worthwhile.
“My book ‘Being With Flowers: Floral Art As Spiritual Practice’ is a dream come true for me,” Ward said. “Quarto Publishing actually reached out to me and were very open to creating the book that is out now. I worked with dear friends to create it. The great majority of the photos are by my dear friend John Felix. My editor was even a close friend and neighbor. The book was endorsed by Alice Walker, Jane Goodall, Julia Butterfly Hill, Alex and Allyson Grey and Gurmukh Khalsa. It is a joy to know that when I leave my body it will still be here lifting people up, helping people go deeper into their own love of flowers.”
For now, however, Ward is using flowers to bring joy to those around him. Find his work at FutureDream 3 on Saturday, Dec. 21.
FutureDream 3 will take place starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Tangent Gallery in Midtown. Ward’s demonstration will happen at 2 p.m. at the Armageddon Beachparty Lounge located at 1517 Putnam St., in Detroit. In addition to Ward’s appearance, the evening will feature musical performances by Tetra Music Project, Pandora Love, Gyp$y, Y-Not, Dancemyth, DosLopez, Approachable Minorities and others. Find out more online at tetramusicproject.com/futuredream.