Floral mailboxes bloom for election season in Philadelphia

PHILADEPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) -- Forget spring and autumn, since election 'season' is when flowers seem to be blooming in Philadelphia.

"We decided to decorate mailboxes to bring attention to voting by mail and getting out the vote," said Kate Carpenter, who organized this city-wide flower installation known as "United by Blooms."

"I'm an executive assistant by day but my flowers are my passion," said Carpenter, who also co-owns East Mt. Airy Blooms.

At 16 hotspots across the city, floral masterpieces adorn the sidewalk, encouraging people to register and vote in the upcoming November 3rd election.

"I passed them twice, I didn't know what was going on," said Batchy Yarra from Southwest Philadelphia.

He was driving through the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and 58th Street when the word, "VOTE," leaped out from the colorful mailbox. He also noticed the mother-daughter-duo from DNA Floral adding the finishing touches to their design.

"Maybe I will talk to them," Yarra said. The lovely ladies showed him how to register and where to place his vote.

His curiosity, piqued by the pretty petals, would spur a total of three new voters.

Domino Mack, co-owner of DNA Floral, was happy to help.

"This corner was very intentional for us to make sure that we were right here in our community encouraging people around us to vote," she said. Her grandmother still utilizes the very mailbox they worked so hard to decorate.

Mack and her mother, Nicole, started their small business in Philadelphia around the same time the COVID-19 pandemic took root.

"We had a lot of events canceled on us," Mack said. "But, we came up with a lot of innovative ways to still be able to sell our product."

She credits the lockdowns for encouraging locals to beautify their homes with floral arrangements. Unfortunately, the deaths that resulted from COVID-19 yielded more funerals for the florists to furnish.

Mack and her mother hope to bring more public flower installments, even after the election.

A few miles down the road, Thi Lam of Floraltology was perfecting a floral archway outside the Francis Scott Key School in South Philadelphia.

"For the constituents that we're working with, we realized that there is a language barrier," Lam said. With this in mind, the arrangement spells out the word, "Vote," in four different languages across the fence.

Lam's design sets the stage for a massive meal distribution courtesy of SEAMAAC, an organization that benefits immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia.

"What we're trying to do is to also have people understand that we're part of the community as well," Lam said. "Through all the suffering, through all the successes, it's kind of like a shared story."

Each florist hopes their intricate artwork will plant seeds within the community to inspire conversation about the upcoming election.

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