Almost everyone in the Port City could agree: The weather lately has been as crazy as the past year’s events. Going from freezing temperatures one day to beach weather the next, it’s a wonder any vegetation has been able to sustain the rapid climate changes at all.
Anyone wanting a break from bare trees and dead leaves can find colorful solace in “The Art of the Bloom Exhibit” hosted by Cameron Art Museum. Serving as a fundraiser for the museum, the three-day exhibit will hold a preview party on January 5 at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. The New Hanover Garden Club, who was recently state-certified, about the concept of “The Art of the Bloom,” approached Jayme Bednarczyk, who serves as the associate director of philanthropy at CAM, about coordinating the show.
“At the CAM, we’re always looking for ways to bring attention to our collection, and involvement with our collection,” Bednarcyzk explains. “We also look for ways to raise money for the museum. We are also sharing proceeds from this exhibit with the New Hanover Garden Club.”
“The Art of the Bloom” will feature 24 designers throughout North Carolina who have been challenged to take one piece of art from CAM to interpret it into a floral arrangement. CAM will do a blind drawing of which pieces to show after designers complete their arrangements.
“The designers are sent a photo of the piece randomly chosen for them, which makes it more challenging,” Bednarcyzk states. “It’s very exciting, and the designers create incredible work.”
Designers are given one month to plan their floral arrangement. Preparation includes the design itself, finding flowers and the perfect container to tie the piece together. The arrangements are delivered to the museum on January 4, where the staff installs the piece from their collection alongside the artists’ works.
“No one at the museum knows what the arrangements will look at all, until they are delivered,” Bednarcyzk adds. “However, we are so thrilled with this being our first time doing this type of show in the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach areas, and over half of who rose to our challenge are master floral designer judges themselves.”
Kicking off the event is the preview party on Jan. 5, held at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in the Ocean Front East Dining and Lee Ballroom. Guests will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvre, sparkling wines and desserts while getting a chance to meet artists and guest lecturers. Providing entertainment for the evening is pianist Grenoldo Frazier, as well as vocalist Julie Rehder and harpist Carole Bowman Green. Awards from the challenge will be announced during the evening.
“We have a wonderful group of master judges coming from Florida,” Bednarcyzk adds. “They are coming to not only judge the entries but to also give several presentations on the art of floral design.”
The first official day of the exhibition will take place on Friday, January 6, from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. The highlight will include a presentation, “Demonstration by Designing Divas: The Sunshine Salutes our Tar Heel Friends.” Six designers from Florida will demonstrate the National Garden Club Standard Designs. The selection process, lines, colors, and structure all will be explained in detail to the audience. Guests are encouraged to interact with the designers after the demonstration during the joint lunch provided. The demonstration will take place in the resort’s Night Hawk Room, 11 a.m. until 1:40 p.m.
The rest of the day will include more demonstrations by the Designing Divas, including “Leaf Manipulation,” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., which teaches guests how to cut, twist and wire leaves in a floral design. An art demonstration by Joel Armstrong will round out the day with floral pastel drawings in the Night Hawk Room. The Bea Mobile Boutique will be set up in the BR parking lot from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Jan. 7, the exhibit will run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and will feature a demonstration by floral designer Erin Weston of Weston Farms in Garner, NC, at 10 a.m. in the Night Hawk Room. Weston will show the process of designing with magnolia leaves grown on her farm. Weston Farms will be selling from their “Art of the Wreath” collection across from the Night Hawk Room. Following Weston’s exhibit will be Wilmington artist Betty Brown’s floral watercolor painting at 2 p.m. Brown will show her audience the art of using floral arrangements and fruits as still-life inspiration.
“Since we don’t have our own permanent collection at CAM, the Blockade Runner has been gracious enough to let us use their space for the weekend,” Bednarczyk adds. “They are even having a discount for out-of-town visitors wishing to stay at the resort for only $99 per night.”
Tickets to the preview party are $45 and can be purchased through CAM’s website. The admission ticket to the preview party also covers guest admission to all three days of the event. Certain arrangements and art pieces will be available for sale. All proceeds benefit Cameron Art Museum and the New Hanover County Garden Club.