A new exhibit that opened Friday at the Arlington Museum of Art puts the homecoming mum front and center.
"Mums are born of community. So, I had this sense that if I asked people if I could borrow their mums, they'd say 'yes' and here I am, 90 mums later," said Amy J. Schultz, the artist behind MUMENTOUS, a multi-media art exhibition that's all about the upsized, Texas tradition.
Schultz spent the last three years studying this ubiquitous Texas high school tradition. Rather than focusing only on the physicality of mums, she explored driving forces behind the tradition including fan and pop culture through the years, football, critics, social media, entrepreneurship, DIY and moms.
Her exhibition combines photography, video, 3D, narrative and more than 90 mums on loan from families in North Texas and beyond.
"This is a homegrown tradition, and it's as wide and varied as our state is," Schulz said.
The photographer and writer wasn't born in Texas but she got here, well, you know the saying.
A few years ago, a friend invited her to a mum-making party.
Schultz took her camera and through her lens saw a story taking shape.
"The more I got into the story, the more I saw the expression of a devotion to a tradition that's very strong in Texas. Well, many traditions. football, family, homecoming, then mums. But also what I saw was this idea of moms rallying together to support their kids as they make their way through the high school years," she said.
She put out the call for people to put their homecoming mums on loan for the exhibit, and the response was double her goal.
In the ribbons, bows and boas, emerge stories of the girls who wore them and the love of those around them.
"They're almost more than personalized. They're an expression of the self," said Schultz.
NBC 5 contributed North Texas MUM story highlights/news stories from NBC 5 archives to be displayed in a special onsite video sequence.
The exhibit runs September 27 through November 24, 2019
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
For more information online about MUMENTOUS and related activities, click here.
For more information about the Arlington Museum of Art, click here.