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Blue Spiral 1 and The North Carolina Arboretum Present Bonsai as Fine Art

Photo by Arthur Joura, courtesy of The North Carolina Arboretum

Bonsai heads downtown to Blue Spiral 1 for a ten-day Bonsai as Fine Art exhibition, the first of its kind in Asheville. The show takes place Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 11, and includes 20 works by professional bonsai artists and members of the Blue Ridge Bonsai Society shown in rotation every five days.

“The idea is to take bonsai out of its usual context,” says Arthur Joura, bonsai curator, The North Carolina Arboretum. “To see the miniature trees and landscapes displayed in a museum-quality setting alongside other visual art will expand the way people conceive of bonsai, highlighting the design aspect of it.”

Photo by Arthur Joura, courtesy of The North Carolina Arboretum

In the exhibition, viewers will see both deciduous and conifer species including maple, elm, bald cypress, azalea, pine, spruce and juniper trees as well as tray landscape presentations—all displayed on pedestals, providing a unique 360o bonsai experience. The bonsai are displayed alongside paintings and other artworks from artists represented by Blue Spiral 1 as part of its longer-running Beyond the Horizon show. The collaborative exhibition highlights where fine art, landscape design and horticultural skill come together to celebrate extraordinary craftsmanship.

“Similarly to painting, fiber, or printmaking, bonsai also makes use of traditional principles of design, such as, balance, line, texture and movement,” says Blue Spiral 1 assistant director Blair Guggenheim.

Special events and educational programs are planned during the exhibition’s run, both at Blue Spiral 1 and The North Carolina Arboretum. On Saturday and Sunday, June 10–11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Arboretum will have a vendor area offering bonsai, bonsai pots, tools and accessories for sale; a Bonsai Pottery Invitational Exhibition featuring works by well-known bonsai potters with a selection of works for sale; and a Bonsai Exhibit by the Blue Ridge Bonsai Society showing a selection of trees trained by club members. Educational videos featuring Arthur Joura and professional bonsai artist and educator Bjorn Bjorholm will also be shown.

Photo by Arthur Joura, courtesy of The North Carolina Arboretum

Bjorholm will conduct a bonsai styling demonstration Saturday at 11 a.m. A live silent auction of selected bonsai from the Arboretum’s collection takes place Saturday from 3–5 p.m.

Visitors can also enjoy the seasonal exhibit on display in the Bonsai Exhibition Garden, which houses the Arboretum’s renowned and regionally inspired bonsai collection.

Bonsai as Fine Art and the related events reaffirm Asheville’s reputation, established through the Arboretum’s Exhibition Garden and numerous North Carolina Bonsai Expos, as a leading bonsai destination,” says Blue Ridge Bonsai Society president Chris Pazoles.

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