In Portland, Maine, a group of Slow Flowers Members wanted to celebrate American Flowers Week with a public floral installation. As their search for a location hit several dead-ends, mostly due to COVID-19 permitting restrictions, they landed on a beautiful way to honor Portland’s Black community while also raising awareness about seasonal and locally-grown flowers.
After a few locations didn’t work out as planned, Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse landed on the perfect venue. “I used to walk past the Green Memorial AME Zion Church when I lived on Munjoy Hill in Portland. And I knew it was one of the first Black churches in Maine.” The stone church was built and dedicated in 1914.
Hoke recruited friends and fellow Slow Flowers members Michelle Rech of Electric Flora and Shelley Stevens of Bloomers Maine, to join as collaborators and then approached the church via email. According to Hoke, Pastor Kenneth Lewis, Jr., was touched by the idea and he put the group in touch with Merita McKenzie, a congregational lay leader.