Museum springs to life with annual Flower Show

Museum springs to life with annual Flower Show

Spring background with daffodils on wooden table

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – As winter winds down, the Attleboro Arts Museum will blossom into a magical destination for nature enthusiasts and folks looking to escape the bleak scenery outside, as part of its 23rd annual Flower Show.

The event, taking place Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24, at the museum, 86 Park St., Attleboro, Mass., will feature major garden displays, horticulture and artistic floral arranging, gardening presentations and demonstrations, an exhibition of 200 pieces of original nature-themed artwork, and special events for all ages.

“The thing that tends to attract everyone, understandably, is all of the color,” Mim Brooks Fawcett, executive director and chief curator of the museum, told The Valley Breeze. “A dreary winter is anything but bright in color. (The show) is a sneak peak for what’s going to be blooming.”

This year’s theme is “Enchanted Forest – Magical Gardens Spring to Life,” and eight exhibitors, including Rosebud Florist, Inc., of Pawtucket, have worked for months to create, plant, and prune garden displays for the show.

“Magic wands,” created by floral artists using live and dried materials will be exhibited in the museum, as will faery portals (doors) and ornaments handmade by J. Cornelia DeVeau of A Faery Knoll Works in Norton, Mass. DeVeau’s work will be featured and for sale in the Breadcrumbs Café Gallery & Boutique along with Providence artist Laura White Carpenter’s assemblages of porcelain ceramic pieces on driftwood or reclaimed wooden building materials.

The art exhibit will showcase floral, landscape, and wildlife subjects, selected by juror Kirsten Swartz, manager of exhibitions and events at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass. Many of the pieces will be for sale.

The focus isn’t just on flowers, Fawcett said: “We have beautiful landscapes and animal imagery.”

A number of local artists will have their work featured:

• Evelyn Bernal, William Bradshaw, Susan Clarke, and Sadie Roy, all of Lincoln

• Jerry Aissis, Patricia Faulkner, Madeleine O. Robinson, Ana-Maria Santos, Barbara Testa, Charles S. Tramontana, and Deborah Vine-Smith, all of Cumberland

• Steven Morse, Justine M. Pinckard, and Cathy Villeneuve, all of Pawtucket

• Mary Kosowski and Rosemarie Manson, both of Smithfield

• Melissa Robson, of North Smithfield

• John Flynn, of North Providence

• Ann Rozhon, of Scituate

For the first time, Aissis, who teaches art classes at the Cumberland and Lincoln Senior Centers and the Rhode Island Watercolor Society, will have a painting featured at the museum.

The longtime Cumberland resident’s alcohol ink piece titled “Underwater Odyssey” will be on sale for $750.

Aissis, who minored in art in college and started painting on a regular basis after he retired in 2002, said alcohol ink is a new technique he’s started using; it’s similar to watercolor painting, but he swaps water for 91 percent proof alcohol.

“The colors are so vibrant,” he said, adding that he’s excited about being featured in the show.

Also “ecstatic” to have his art displayed is woodcarver Bradshaw, whose wood piece “Zebra” costs $250.

Bradshaw, whose work is also for sale in the museum’s gift shop, uses a scroll saw and hard woods, such as walnut and white pine, to create individual creatures and scenes. Since he retired five years ago, he said he’s taken up woodworking as a hobby.

New this year will be sculptures created by sugar artists from Massachusetts and Connecticut. Using chocolate, fondant, gumpaste, and pulled and blown sugar, the artists have done “remarkable things” with the material, shaping pieces into animals and flowers, Fawcett said.

Given the fragility of the pieces she said she can’t guarantee how long they will be on display.

Beyond the art and garden exhibits, the show features demonstrations from naturalists, hands-on activities for children and families, live music, raffles, and food.

“We try and make the Flower Show an experience for everybody,” Fawcett said. “We try and incorporate nature as much as possible.”

For the first time at the show, Jordan’s Jungle, of Pawtucket, will provide a live plant sale, featuring some exotic pieces. “People can take home something green and beautiful,” Fawcett said.

URI Master Gardeners will be available on Sunday for free soil testing, and the weekend will include live animal shows from Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro and Mass Audubon Oak Knoll & Attleboro Springs.

On Friday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., visitors can pet animals as part of the Enchanted Animals: Live Petting Zoo, also new this year, Fawcett said.

The Flower Show, one of the largest annual fundraisers for the museum, provides many opportunities for people to support the museum, Fawcett said, adding that the gift shop, which includes handmade items by local artists, triples its typical size.

All proceeds from raffles will benefit museum programs and exhibitions. Tickets are $1 each, seven for $5 and 20 for $10.

Flower Show hours are Thursday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 each day and free for children 9 and younger. All activities are free with admission.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.attleboroartsmuseum.org/flower-show .

Jerry Aissis, of Cumberland, will exhibit “Underwater Odyssey,” an alcohol ink piece, as part of a nature-themed art exhibit at the Attleboro Arts Museum’s 23rd annual Flower Show, taking place Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24, at the museum, 86 Park St., Attleboro, Mass. His painting is one of 200 works, many of which are for sale. Aissis’ painting costs $750.
Woodcarver William Bradshaw, of Lincoln, will display this wood piece titled “Zebra,” which costs $250.
A fairy house handcrafted by Master Gardener Kathi Gariepy that will be on display at the Attleboro Arts Museum’s 23rd annual Flower Show.
Sugar artist Scott Bradshaw, of Plainville, Mass., created this stag, which will be on display at the show.