Art In Bloom 2021

Written by Joely Rogers

Over the summer, Frame Destination was a sponsor of the 15th annual Art In Bloom 2021, a fundraiser for the Black Mountain Center for the Arts (BMCA) in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Flowers were the focal point of the event, and they were celebrated in floral arrangements, art exhibits, classes/workshops, and garden tours throughout the month of July.

I live in the Black Mountain area with my husband and Frame Destination co-owner, Mark Rogers, so I was able to take full advantage of all the activities. It was an extremely well-planned and executed event. BMCA’s director, Lori Cozzi, has an extensive background in arts education and academic management, and it showed in the careful attention to detail in all aspects of program. You can view the full schedule here. 

Here are some of my favorite Art in Bloom highlights ...

Hands-on Classes with a Floral Focus

As part of Art In Bloom, BMCA hosted a three-week nature journaling workshop series taught by illustrator Stephanie Sipp. I participated in this enjoyable workshop, where Stephanie highlighted a different flower each week. The image below is from our dandelion class.

Floral Design Meets Fine Art

You’ve heard of wine and food pairings. Apply the same idea to nature and art, and you get a picture of the Preview Party hosted prior to the start of the garden tours. Artwork from various regional galleries were matched up with floral arrangements created by designers from the Ikebana (Japanese flower art) and Western traditions. This was a unique way to merge two artistic disciplines while encouraging people to think about the many forms of art. Below are two unique pairings from the preview party.

“Interior” by Fine Artist David Bryan with Floral Designer Sue Grier.
“It’s Not Just Black and White” by Fine Artist Bob Travers with Floral Designer Jan Braakman.

Garden Tours with Plein Air Artists

En plein air is a French phrase that loosely means putting brush to canvas “out in the open air” rather than in a studio. There were six incredible gardens featured on the tour with one or two plein air artists working at each one. My assigned garden stretched across three lots and contained winding rock paths, Japanese maples, sedum, and a variety of other seasonal flowers. I chose lightweight oil pastels as my medium due to their portability, which turned out to be a good choice as the garden was on a slope. The image below is the beginning of my painting; keep scrolling to see the final piece.

Plein Air Art Revealed

In the week following the garden tours, BMCA hosted a closing exhibit of artworks created in the gardens. There were over 20 beautiful images on display in both wet and dry art media, as well as photography. Participating artists had the option of a 50/50 commission split with BMCA or a donation to the center.

My finished garden tour artwork is on the right above. Before the event, I had ordered Frame Destination Profile 554 — a funky, distressed wood frame that complemented the abstract impressionist style of my painting. BMCA suggested naming our work so that it could be identified with each artist’s assigned garden. Since my garden location was Cottage Settings Lane, I named the art “Perfect Setting.” I don’t know if it was the art, the frame, or the title, but my plein air oil pastel sold!

Inspired to Participate in a Plein Air Event?

If you are interested in taking part in a live plein air painting event, I strongly encourage you to take that step. Here are a few helpful hints:

Choose your support and/or image size first and order any framing supplies in advance. I had only four days to finish and frame my artwork before the gallery drop-off date. Frame Destination offers a rush service and express shipping if you find yourself in a real time crunch. 

Pack for your health, safety, and comfort. Bring plenty of drinks, snacks, a chair or stool if you need one, and rain gear. A thunderstorm developed toward the end of my painting period and I was glad I had my jacket.

Bring business cards and be ready to talk about your work and yourself. People are curious about art and artists and will be taking your picture, looking over your shoulder, etc. I’m an introvert, so this part was harder for me than the thunderstorm. But I did manage to relax, meet new people, and have some fun!

Let go of performance anxiety. People know this is unfinished work and are curious about the creation process. If you are a newbie plein air artist, please don’t let anxiety stop you. Check out our blog on plein air painting for more information on plein air painting.

Sponsorships and Scholarships

Personally, I very much enjoyed Art in Bloom and was proud that Frame Destination could help sponsor it. It was a wonderful way to honor our Advocacy for Artists brand promise. In fact, here are a couple ways you may be able to take advantage of our promise in your local art community:

Event Sponsorships. In 2021, we have opportunities for art clubs to gain sponsorships and event giveaways ranging from $75 to $1000 per event. Frame Destination is committed to supporting art financially, wherever we can.

Art Scholarships. We’re offering a $500 Frame Destination Scholarship to four deserving candidates each year, two per semester. Applications are open to both undergrad and graduate students attending any accredited university within the United States.

If you’ve never been to North Carolina’s Black Mountains, the Art in Bloom event is the perfect excuse to visit this beautiful area. Maybe we’ll see you next summer!


Last Updated August 28, 2021

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