Arts Galleries

The Gallery at Flat Rock Hosts Art in Bloom

Gallery at Flat Rock Art in Bloom

Dede Walton, Ikenobo Ikebana floral arranger. Jacket, Boro Takes a Walk on the Purple Side. Liz Spear, artist

The Gallery at Flat Rock’s fifth annual Art in Bloom, pairing art in a range of media with creative floral displays, will be unveiled to the public at a special ticketed preview party on Friday, September 25, from 5–8 p.m., and will be available for viewing and purchase on September 26–27. The highly anticipated event had to be delayed this year from its usual May date because of the pandemic. The preview party will be structured for social distancing, with limits on the number of people inside the gallery at any one time, says gallery owner Suzanne Camarata. On Saturday and Sunday, the exhibition will be free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. (Please check the gallery’s website as the event approaches for any changes to scheduling or structuring.)

Gallery at Flat Rock Art in Bloom

LollyPops. Aundrea Hutchinson, artist. Floral arrangement by Joey Farrington of Twigs, Greenville, SC

There were more than 250 entries from 89 artists this year, Camarata says. Three judges—Betsey-Rose Weiss, Marian Congdon and Joel Edwards—were tasked with narrowing the abundance of art down to just 20 pieces for the show. It was “not a simple task,” Weiss says, adding, “The variety and quality of the selections is going to be exciting to see interpreted and in person. Art is so much better when you can feel it as well as see it.”

Members of the Blue Ridge chapter of the Ikenobo Ikebana Society will join professional floral designers in creating what Camarata calls the “ephemeral pieces in the exhibit.” Designers study the artwork and create fresh floral interpretations based on what they see.

Congdon had never juried a show pairing art and floral design. “It’s exciting to know that the round of jurying was only the first part of putting together the show,” she says. “The floral designers will bring their expertise and, hopefully, surprise and challenge us with their interpretations.”

It is this interpretive element that gives Art in Bloom, an event that began in 1976 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, such appeal. “Viewers get to experience exponential creativity objectively and subjectively,” Congdon says. “They encounter formal compositions from both artist and designer, with the added elements of formal and emotional connectivity between the two pieces.” Questions suggest themselves to viewers’ minds, she adds, including ones about artists’ and designers’ intent and whether the art is anchored, extended or contradicted by its accompanying floral design. “Comparing and contrasting—what fun!” she says.

The Gallery at Flat Rock is located at Flat Rock Square at 2702-A Greenville Highway, Flat Rock. To learn more, visit or call 828.698.7000. Tickets for the preview party are $40 each.

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