Step into Fleurish and its chic space, adorned with antique furnishings and custom flower arrangements, and it may throw you off: It’s the kind of Wicker Park/West Hollywood/Chelsea boutique you see pictured in Vogue or Vanity Fair — at home in downtown Urbana.
Fleurish opened its doors to the community less than two weeks ago. Operated by two longtime best friends, the haute flower gallery combines Sarah Compratt’s floral expertise and Kristine Fisher’s artistic skills.
Having grown up around beautiful, large gardens and a grandmother who arranged flowers for friends and family, Compratt has worked with flowers for as long as she can remember.
“Flowers are kind of emotional for people,” Compratt explained. “It’s tied to the big events in peoples’ lives.”
Compratt said she never thought of a job or a career in flowers until she graduated from Wisconsin. Art history degree in hand, she moved to Venice Beach with Fisher, who graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago. Compratt found herself arranging flowers at the bar she tended. Soon, she was working as design manager at Moe’s Flowers, where she worked for nearly 14 years. At the same time, Fisher pursued an artistic career, painting everything from restaurants to the backdrops of Dr. Dre music videos.
“When we lived in California, we may not have had a lot to eat, but we always had beautiful flowers,” Fisher said, laughing.
The space will exhibit the works of local artists in the evening. Compratt hopes to host art shows every month or two.
“[Fleurish] has a lot of potential as an art gallery to show off local artists’ work,” Compratt said. “The space is so beautiful, and I’ve got some big beautiful walls to show off the art. I’m looking forward to the night activity.”
Fisher’s show on March 7 will kick things off. Fisher will tie a floral theme into the show, calling it “Signs.” Combining images of sign language and flowers, the show will feature pieces comprised of recycled windows as well as several other media including watercolors, oils and acrylics.
Compratt and Fisher plan on using Fleurish’s space instructionally as well. They’re considering hosting ikebana, or Japanese flower arranging, classes, and Fisher may teach children how to paint in the summer.
After “gypsying around” the country, the middle school companions are happy to be back in Champaign-Urbana.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me, and the city of Urbana’s been very supportive,” Compratt said. “I’m very happy for what [Fleurish] could be in the future.”

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