Floral artists will be drawing inspiration from paintings and other art objects, such as a wildly decorated Mardi Gras vase, for the fourth Art & The Bloom exhibition scheduled to take place at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort Jan. 7-10.
The exhibition is a major fundraiser for the New Hanover Garden Club. The 30 or so club members will be assisted by Harbor Island Garden Club volunteers to run the four-day event, which includes workshops in floral design, botanical illustration and art, jewelry fashion shows, gallery art sales, and a horticultural presentation by Frank Hyman, author of “Orange You Glad You Grow Citrus.”
“We really have to be flexible, working within COVID safety guidelines,” committee chair Barb Bittler says. “We have been very upfront with the speakers and designers, but everyone has been excited at the thought of participating because no one has had a chance to have an outlet for their creativity for almost a year now. We’re really excited about having something positive to look forward to. Somebody has to be first to start having things again.”
This year’s 28 pieces of art come from private collections and the Wilmington Art Association. The eclectic topics include a grandfather and child portrait, marsh scenes and a clown. Floral designers received their assignment from a blind draw weeks before the event. Their challenge is to replicate or interpret the art with blooms.
Winners receive a cash award and bragging rights.
“It is interesting to come see how the floral designers interpreted a piece,” Bittler says. “They may see something you don’t see. People will stop and have a conversation around it, like in a museum. ‘Look how they captured that.’”
The New Hanover Garden Club uses funds raised to plant good works in the community including a Blue Star Memorial marker at the Wilmington National Cemetery. The Blue Star is a nationwide memorial that honors all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Other funds have gone to providing scholarships to Cape Fear Community College gardening and landscaping design students, and to support two junior garden clubs.
“We have also done two large garden renovations for churches that were damaged by storms, and we will do the landscaping for a Habitat for Humanity house, hopefully this May,” Bittler says.
The group also participated in late 2020 with Suzanne Tarry’s Olive Tree Blessing Bags. Tarry founded the nonprofit to give gifts to frontline hospital and health workers who have stayed on the job throughout the pandemic.
“We dried herbs and flowers out of our gardens, took our dry things with her oils, made sachets and packed them with other goodies,” Bittler says. “We made 100 bags and took them to the New Hanover hospital COVID critical care nurses.”
The entrance fee is $15 and will allow repeated visits. If COVID-19 restrictions cause a cancellation, the club will provide refunds.
Watch the New Hanover Garden Club’s website and Facebook page for updated information and to purchase tickets to the workshops and exhibition.