By Jessica Klarp
The Black Mountain Center for the Arts (BMCA) has been planning its big June event for months—years, really. “This will be our twelfth year producing Art in Bloom,” says Gale Jackson, BMCA executive director. “It is such an honor to work with our talented and experienced planning committee and the participants who return year after year to share their artistry with our guests. From the floral designers who create magnificent displays in our gallery to the restaurants who cater our gala to the garden owners who so generously open their yards to our ticket-holders and the hundreds of volunteers and businesses who share their time and talents, we are so proud to celebrate Art in Bloom with our community again this year.”
Art in Bloom is a flower-filled event that will take place June 14–16, followed by an exhibit of plein air paintings through July 20. This multi-faceted event includes two different gallery shows, a display of floral arrangements, a gala and a garden tour.
The BMCA Upper Gallery will display more than 20 art works curated from regional galleries— such as Blue Spiral 1, Bender, Seven Sisters and Haan—that loan individual pieces for the Art in Bloom event.
Talented floral designers are then matched with a work of art for which they design and create an interpretation in flowers. On the morning of the floral design installation, the gallery teems with rolling carts filled with flower buckets and colorful containers brought in by the floral designers for assembly of their arrangements. The scented air is filled with camaraderie and creativity.
Ichiyo Ikebana master Lynn Forbes heads up the contingent of designers who practice the art of Japanese floral design. “We are so honored and proud to have many high-ranking artists from three Ikebana schools represented for this year’s event,” says Forbes. “We anticipate Art in Bloom with great excitement,” says Nancy Shoch, who leads the Western, or Traditional, floral designers, some of whom are floral business owners or who provide arrangements for weddings and events. “It’s a great opportunity to be challenged and to have a chance to see each other’s work.”
On Thursday, June 14, at 6 p.m., the doors of BMCA are thrown open to reveal the splendor and to celebrate the artistry on display with a Gala Preview Dinner Party. Ticketholders stroll among the arrangements, meet the designers and indulge in a long spread that will include grilled salmon, a wide variety of farm-to-table veggies, sides, desserts, craft brews and wine—all to be enjoyed al fresco or inside BMCA’s transformed theater space. This year’s Honorary Chair will be community leader Mary Leonard White, whose contributions have made Black Mountain more beautiful, healthy and sustainable.
Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, offer guests the option to view the floral designs only or combine the gallery show with a local Cottage Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. over the course of both days. Five unique gardens have been selected for this driving tour with several stops, and local restaurant discounts are included. Maps can be picked up when tickets are purchased at BMCA on the day of the tour. At the gardens, guests will witness plein air painters translating nature to canvas.
Beginning on Wednesday, June 20, all of the plein air paintings will be on display and for sale in the Upper Gallery, replacing the floral arrangements with a different kind of artistic interpretation. For those who missed the Garden Tour, this is a great way to get a taste. All proceeds from this fundraising event go to support the many classes, programs and events at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts.
Black Mountain Center for the Arts is located at 225 West State Street in Black Mountain. Tickets are $50 for the Gala Preview, $20 for the Garden Tour and $5 for gallery only admission. Viewing the plein air paintings in the Upper Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 828.669.0930 or visit blackmountainarts.org.