Out florist creates surprise art installations to make Philadelphians smile

Marianna Coppola intended to make the citizens of Philadelphia smile, and plans to do so again through her artistry and design skills.

Coppola, a lesbian, has been creating art installations in surprise locations throughout the city. Her first work of art appeared in September in the East Passyunk Crossings area of South Philadelphia, where she and 10 others decorated a light pole with an assortment of colorful flowers. 

“I wanted to create it in a place where people walk a lot,” the 40-year-old said. “On Passyunk Avenue, especially on a Saturday or Sunday on a beautiful day, there’s a lot of people walking by. I just thought it would be nice for the community and to make people smile.”

Coppola took down the installation after four days because she did not want the flowers to die. However, her mission to make others happy continued around the holidays when she decorated the entire rail bridge on 10th and Spring Garden streets with her team.

“It’s not a very bright area,” Coppola said of the area. “It’s really sad at night and it’s really dark.”

To create a contrast with the darkness, Coppola and her team decorated the bridge with branches and lights, powered by a generator she purchased. She added that while the city typically has extravagant light fixtures around the holiday season, it is not the case for this area. To add that extra ingredient of cheer, Coppola created a sign that said “Happy Holidays” written above her company name, Creations by Coppola.

“At Creations by Coppola, we believe there is no greater artistic medium than fresh flowers,” the description for Coppola’s business reads on its website. “From the wild and vibrant, to the soft and romantic, we hope to endlessly inspire.”


Coppola, a native of Monte de Procida in Naples, Italy, received a degree from the Flower School of New York before her career took off with her company. 

These installations have also served a networking purpose for Coppola. She said she has received several new clients who called upon her services after they were impressed by her public designs.

“I thought it would be something different for people to talk about,” she said. “It’s a better way than putting my name on a magazine. 

“They can see it live. [A magazine article can say] ‘She’s the greatest florist.’ But they don’t know.” 

When asked why she does the extra work with these installations, Coppola’s answer is simple. 

“Why not?” she said, adding that she likes to see people happy. 

While Coppola took down her most recent work of art, she is already planning her next installation in the spring. She would not disclose details about the location or the design but teased about its overall nature. 

“I’m going to have to get a permit from the city for sure because there’s more traffic in that area. 

However, Coppola provided a few more tidbits about the artwork she has planned for the summer. She said this project will be on display in the Gayborhood, but she still held back on details so as not to spoil the surprise.

“It’s going to be during a busy time. I can say that.” 

For more of Marianna Coppola’s work, visit http://www.creationsbycoppola.com/.