Art in Bloom open for one weekend

PORT ANGELES — There was one time when Bernice Cook took a vacuum-cleaner attachment and put a large piece of rhododendron in it.

That was fun, said the Port Angeles floral designer — and she expects this year’s Art in Bloom display to be even sassier.

Art in Bloom, begun seven years ago by the late Mim Foley, is a pairing of fine art and blossoms, and of spring and inspiration.

In this year’s installation at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 12 lovers of flowers are constructing responses to particular pieces in the Strait Art 2011 exhibition.

That show, subtitled “Slivers of Silver” in honor of the fine arts center’s 25th anniversary, is on display through May 15.

12 floral designs

And today through Sunday only, Art in Bloom will add 12 floral designs to it.

Each design is a companion to one of the works in Strait Art, from the hands of a local Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs member.

The Mim Foley Art in Bloom show is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 
5 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday only at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., which is behind the Jones Street water dome.

Admission is free.

Mary Lou Waitz of Port Angeles, the curator of and a contributor to and Art in Bloom, is building a 3-foot-tall design out of a sprig of Scotch broom plus one chrysanthemum.

She’s spray-painting the broom silver and choosing a pale mum specimen to evoke the arts center’s silver-anniversary theme.

The free-standing piece, Waitz said, is her response to Kevin Willson’s free-standing, mixed-media sculpture titled “#13.”

“You’ll be surprised at how I did it,” Waitz said of her floral design.

She also urges visitors to look for the creation by Billie Fitch of Nordland.

“She always picks a complicated piece, one that requires lots of flowers,” Waitz said.

“I’m just the opposite, with just one or two.”

Abstract piece

Cook, for her part, plans on using some recyclables she’s been saving to build an abstract piece that will also involve carnations and tree branches.

Her design is a response to “Roadside Ethnography,” Port Ludlow artist Michael Berman’s entry in Strait Art.

Using a grid like a checkerboard, this photograph depicts a collection of flotsam tossed from passing cars onto the roadside.

“It’s not beauty. It’s more reality,” Cook said of the picture. Her creation will align with that idea.

In contrast, Cook added, other floral designers are fashioning beautiful, flowing arrangements.

Helping to fill the fine arts center with flowers are Judi McClanahan and Marge Wahlgren of Forks; Linda Nutter, Mary Lou Paulson and Patty Wheatley of Port Angeles; Marian Meany and Sue Conklin of the Tri-Area Garden Club; Laurie Tillman of the Nordland Garden Club; and Betty Wren, a former Port Townsend resident who has moved to Seattle.

This year, the event has gained its new name, the Mim Foley Art in Bloom display, in honor of the originator, who died in June.

Marylee “Mim” Foley was fatally injured in an auto wreck at Park Avenue and Race Street on May 5, 2010, just before last year’s exhibit was to be mounted.

The floral designers decided to go ahead with Art in Bloom because they believed Foley would have wanted them to do so.

For more details about the show, phone 360-457-3532.


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at

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