Rolling Out

The Detroit Pierians to host a spectacular tablescaping event

The fun-raising competition brings the art of the table-setting to the heart of Detroit
Tablescapes from the Pierians' 2021 event

On June 8,  twelve designers from diverse backgrounds will showcase their themed designs in a tablescaping competition and brunch hosted by the Detroit Pierians.

“What is a tablescape?” some have asked. Tablescaping is the art of place setting. It involves creating a theme around table setting, decorations and an impeccable combination of etiquette and creativity. Tablescaping contests date back to the early 20th century and have been known to be fiercely competitive, with designers preparing months in advance and often breaking the bank to deliver the most jaw-dropping table for the prize of Best in Show.

Today, tablescaping contests are found mainly at county fairs throughout the U.S. For the Los Angeles County Fair contest, which started in 1930, there is often a waiting list to compete, with only twenty applicants accepted out of hundreds who want to flex their tabling skills.

Detroit Pierian Chapter charter member Charlotte Jackson inspired members to participate in their first tablescaping event virtually during the pandemic in 2021. At 84, Ms. Jackson has been a tablescaper for over 40 years, participating in suburban shows in Grosse Pointe, Meadowbrook and Cranbrook. In their first in-person event, the Detroit Pierians are bringing the tradition of tablescaping to the heart of the city — and all for a worthy cause.

The Detroit Pierians to host a spectacular tablescaping event

Founded in Baltimore in 1958 by Annette Colbert Johnson, The Pierians Inc. was a ladies’ social group whose members engaged in cultural activities, such as the theatre, opera, symphony and museums.  Today, there are 16 chapters across the country, including Hawaii. In addition to enjoying the fine and performing arts, the group supports scholarship and philanthropic initiatives.

“Breakfast at Epiphany’s”, the organization’s second tablescaping competition and brunch, helps support the organization’s outreach to young and emerging artists as well as for nonprofit art organizations in Metro Detroit.

“We are thrilled to have designer participants who have a passion for tablescaping — from the novice to the professional — but all who have sufficient skills or intuition to create captivating designs,” shared Priscilla Phifer, event co-chair, on behalf of the Detroit Pierians Inc.

“This is hard work,” Phifer said, “and we are grateful for the designers’ commitment and dedication to helping the Pierians support scholarships for youth and some nonprofit organizations in the fine and performing arts.”

Taking place at Epiphany Detroit, a fast-rising venue on city’s east side, “Breakfast at Epiphany’s” attendees will select the winners and honorable mention awardees. The designers include retired Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford; interior designer Loretta Crenshaw; realtor Sharon Gamblin; gallerist Omo Misha; interior designer April McGee; communications manager Oneika Mobley, representing the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club; curator Tanya Stephens of Preservation Detroit; nutritionist Shirley Woods; EV account manager Michele Jackson; educator Tuoanyene Natt-Sims; event planner Toni McClendon; and Arthur White of the Michigan Opera Theater. As part of the event, White will also deliver a presentation on tablescaping. Author Jane Schulak’s popular hard copy coffee table book, At the Artisan’s Table, is one of several raffle items. The event co-chairs are Pierians Charlotte Jackson, Camille Walker Banks and Priscilla Phifer.

To make a donation or to attend this event, please visit:

All photos appear courtesy of the designers or the Detroit Pierians, except where noted.

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