Art in Bloom returns to Black Mountain Center for the Arts

Special to Black Mountain News
This Cataloochee photo by David Simchock with floral design by Jeff Seitz of Appalachian Creek is an example of the work that can be found at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts when Art in Bloom returns for its 13th year June 13-15.

It’s that time of year again when the weather turns warm and the Art in Bloom planning committee at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts starts to double check all the details for their biggest annual fundraising event.

It takes a team of dedicated volunteers to coordinate all of the participants in this three-day, flower-filled extravaganza.

This year’s Art in Bloom takes place June 13 - 15 and includes a gala dinner party, 22 floral designs, two gallery shows, a garden tour with all kinds of perks, plein air painters and fun.

It all starts with a gallery show curated from regional galleries that is currently on display and free to the public.

This year’s contributing galleries include Grovewood Gallery, Miya Gallery, The Bender Gallery, Blue Spiral 1, Seven sisters Gallery, New Morning Gallery, Ariel Gallery and the Wedge Studios.

“I think this is the most beautiful Art in Bloom gallery show we’ve ever had,” outgoing executive director Gale Jackson said.

Jackson has chosen art for the last 13 years and though every Art in Bloom is special, this one has special significance as her last opportunity to choose for the event.

On Thursday, June 13, early in the morning, 22 floral designers descend on the Arts Center with buckets of flowers and spend the day creating magnificent floral designs inspired by the art work.

Many of the designers have participated in the event every year and look forward to the experience. Half of the designers represent various schools of Ikebana, the Japanese art of floral design.

The other half are more traditional florists. Both Betsey Baker and Christy Leonard (who is new to the event this year) are florists for the Biltmore Estate. All of the floral designers are immensely talented and take the event very seriously, creating practice arrangements in advance, choosing their vessels with great care and scouting far and wide for the perfect blooms with which they will interpret the art work in the gallery.

That evening, at 6 p.m., the Arts Center will open its doors to ticket holders for a lavish Gala Preview Party that includes a buffet sit-down dinner catered by local restaurants that will include grilled salmon, a variety of farm-to-table sides, with hand scooped Ultimate ice cream for dessert.

The Gala is a great opportunity not only to relax and socialize, but to see the floral designs at their freshest and meet the designers. The music of Celtic harpist Sue Richards will accompany guests in the gallery.

Tickets for dinner and gallery preview are $50 and on sale now.

On June 14 and 15 from,10 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests have the option to view the floral designs only for $5 or combine the gallery show with a local Garden Tour over the course of both days for $20.

Five gardens have been selected for this tour, which requires guests to drive to each separate location. Maps can be picked up when tickets are purchased at the Arts Center on the day of the tour.

Following Art in Bloom weekend, the work of the plein air painters from the Garden Tour will be installed and on display in the Upper Gallery June 19 through July 19, an exhibit free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All proceeds from this event benefit the Black Mountain Center for the Arts and help sustain its year-round programming and events.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is located at 225 W. State Street. For more information visit blackmountainarts.org or call 669-0930.