Florist invites selfies in window for ACLU donations

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — A florist at Pot + Box has turned her storefront window in the Fisher Building into backdrops inviting passersby to take photos for any donation to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. 

Lisa Waud, owner of Pot + Box flower shop, is well known for her designs, activism and as the producer of Flower House in 2015. She said for her next project, she was inspired when she saw Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald's national portraits of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. 

Lisa Waud, right owner, of Pot + Box Flower Shop, on Saturday prepares  portrait replica backdrop of former President Barack Obama with Tara Douglass, horticulturalist, at her Detroit shop located in the Fisher Building.

"In the flower shop, we work in this fishbowl-type area where people can see us working as they walk by...kind of like an open kitchen," said Waud, 40. "I used that window for this project where I challenged myself to reproduce their backdrops." 

Waud said the displays were just supposed to be used as art "but then someone walked in and asked to sit in the chair and out of nowhere I said 'only if you donate to the ACLU." 

This week only, Waud invites guests into her storefront window to take photos from outside or inside the display for a donation of any amount to the ACLU of Michigan. 

"In the political climate we're in, rather than complain about bad things, I wanted to interpret and incorporate the community to participate in something positive with meaning," Waud said. "The ACLU does a lot of great work. It feels both universal but not too broad of a nonprofit."

The florist said she only planned on recreating Barack Obama's flower portrait but it felt lopsided since his and Michelle Obama's were presented as two. She also studied the flowers Wiley choice to incorporate in Obama's portrait and their symbolic meaning and tried to interpret Sherald's take on Michelle Obama's as an icon.  

"Michelle's was difficult to interpret but we wanted something flower incorporated and both compliment each other well," said Waud. "Who doesn't love a selfie for a good cause?"

The fundraiser runs until April 7. Pot and Box is open Tuesday through Friday noon - 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Guests can also donate to the ACLU online and show their digital donation.