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Ticket holders can’t decide which part of Art in Bloom, the annual fundraiser for the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, they like best.

It could be the Gala Preview Party (6 p.m. June 18, $40) with its catered buffet dinner. It could be the gallery display of Ikebana and Western floral designs (June 19-20, $5). It might be the two-day Cottage Garden Tour (10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 19-20, $20).

Personal favorites might also include the plein air painters in the gardens, an event followed by a display of their works. Or it might be a reading by Art in Bloom’s honorary chair, former N.C. Poet Laureate (and fellow flower-lover) Fred Chappell (3 p.m., June 20, by donation).

This will be the ninth year the Black Mountain Center for the Arts has produced Art in Bloom but already, associated artwork is available to view. Work selected from regional galleries specifically for the annual event is on display in the Upper Gallery, for free, through June 17.

Floral designers - some professional florists, some talented nonprofessionals, some Ikebana Society members - have been paired with one of the 22 different pieces of art. On June 18, the floral arrangers will bring armloads of flowers to the arts center to create arrangements that capture what they see as the essence of the artwork they are interpreting.

The Gala Preview Party at the arts center that night gives ticket holders first looks at the floral designs at their freshest. They’ll dine on the buffet, sipping wine, beer or other beverages and enjoy dessert by Ultimate Ice Cream. The lavish spread features salmon and chicken smoked on site by Rick Harwood and delicious sides from Black Mountain Ale House’s Travis Eberhart.

Holders of tickets to the garden tour don’t have to pay the $5 to see the floral designs in the gallery. The garden tour includes five Black Mountain cottage gardens, each with a plein air painter working to capture the beauty on canvas. Between June 22-July 17, the paintings will be for sale in the gallery.

On June 20, the garden tour comes to a close as Chappell reads from his book of poetry “Spring Garden” in the art center’s theater space.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is at 225 W. State St. For more, call 669-0930 or visit BlackMountainArts.org.

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