DEARBORN, MICH.March 4-July 13Before Elizabeth Parke Firestone died in 1990, the onetime ''best dressed woman in the world" donated more than 1,000 designer dresses, shoes, gloves, and accessories to the Henry Ford Museum. In the museum's first fashion exhibit, curator Nancy Bryk selected 50 dresses, suits, accessories, and 200 pairs of shoes for ''Vintage Couture: The 1920s-1960s Fashions of Elizabeth Parke Firestone." The wife of industrialist Harvey S. Firestone Jr. fashioned her wardrobe for business and pleasure by partnering with the A-list of Paris and New York couturiers, among them Christian Dior, Jean Patou, Alix, Peggy Hoyt, Carrie Munn, Sally Milgrim, and CristÃ³bal Balenciaga. The Firestones, who were married 52 years, lived with their four sons in Akron, Ohio, and had homes in New York and Newport, R.I.Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd. 313-271-1620. www.thehenryford.org.
NEW YORKFeb. 26-March 27With orchids galore, the New York Botanical Garden transforms the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into a winter paradise under glass. The third annual ''Orchid Show" features 5,000 bloomers drawn from the garden's living collections and nurseries specializing in cultivating the exotic plants. The settings reflect the jungles of the Americas and distant forests of Asia. Among varieties on display in their natural habitats are oncidium, epidendrum, cattleya, vanda, dendrobium, cymbidium, and phalaenopsis. In the nearby Mertz Library's Orchid Rotunda, visitors can view an array of tropical slipper orchids, a rare variety with a pouch lip that looks like a lady's ballroom slipper. During ''Adventures," the NYBG offers guided tours, demonstrations, lectures, and plant sales.Bronx River Parkway and Fordham Road. 718-817-8700. www.nybg.org.
'Tour de Clay'
BALTIMOREFeb. 19-April 3Greater Baltimore centers itself on ceramics for the six-week ''Tour de Clay." Organized by the nonprofit Baltimore Clayworks, it is the country's largest visual arts event with 160 exhibits by 878 national and international ceramics artists. Exhibits at 122 venues -- museums, arts centers, universities, galleries, and other public spaces -- are meant to show the functional and nonfunctional range of clay art. The event coincides with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts public conference (March 16-19) at the Convention Center. Among activities are the kickoff reception (Feb. 19); ''Clay Days," where anyone can work with the medium at statewide stations (March 3-5); ''ACC Weekend," bus tours of opening receptions in city neighborhoods (Feb. 26-27); and ''Clay Crawl" to venues during ''Happy Hour"(March 11). The April 3 finale is a ''Bike Tour de Clay Challenge" in which riders see who can bike to the most exhibits.Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave. and other locations. 410-578-1919. www.baltimoreclayworks.org.
PHOENIXMarch 4-6The Heard Museum's first Indian arts fair in 1958 was a small community event organized by volunteers. Today, more 700 volunteers mastermind the Indian Fair & Market, one of the most prestigious gatherings for Native American potters, jewelry artists, katsina doll carvers, beaders, basket makers, weavers, and painters. Last year's fair attracted more than 18,000 patrons. The 47th annual event has more than 600 artists selected to exhibit and sell their handmade creations on the museum grounds and plaza. Native American dancers, hoop dancers, and musicians entertain in the outdoor amphitheater. A Best-of-Show reception Friday evening features a juried competition for artists' awards, a silent auction of donated work by 50 artists, and a buffet dinner.
Heard Museum: Native Cultures & Art, 2301 North Central Ave. 602-252-8848 (information), 602-252-0205 (dinner tickets). www.heard.org.
PHILADELPHIAFeb. 16-May 15The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the only US venue for the landmark retrospective of works by DalÃ (1904-89). The Spanish artist's creativity involved writing, making objectsand films, and designing ballets and exhibitions; he was best known for surrealist paintings done over a 10-year period beginning in 1929. Among the 200 works in the retrospective are 150 paintings, the most comprehensive exhibit of DalÃ's canvases. Organized chronologically, the exhibit begins with his art school days in Madrid. The Philadelphia museum joined the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in collaboration with the Gala-Salvador DalÃ Foundation in Spain to present the centennial exhibit.Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. 215-763-8100. www.philamuseum.org.
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