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By Donna Lane

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This is the tenth anniversary of Art in Bloom presented by the Norwood Evening Garden Club. Art in Bloom is a community event that displays artwork generated by high school students coupled with floral interpretations done by members of the garden club.

The event was conceived by Ann Malachowski, former art director for Norwood schools, and yours truly. I met Ann 11 years ago when I brought outdated interior design sample books to the school for use by the art department. We both had a desire to do something that involved the students and the garden club, and it was our many animated conversations that led to this annual event.

Patterned after Boston’s Art in Bloom where floral designers from garden clubs across the state interpret the many objects randomly assigned by Boston’s Museum of Art, students prepare artwork based on assigned topics. Selected pieces are submitted to the garden club chairman who then distributes the art to participating club members via a lottery system. Up until this year, the only school approached was Norwood High School. This year, we’ve added Walpole High School artists to the mix.

Nancy Costa, co-chair of Art in Bloom 2014, says “We are excited that Walpole High accepted our invitation to join Art in Bloom this year. The 10th anniversary exhibit will be bigger and better than ever.”

Nancy’s enthusiasm for this event began several years ago when she signed up to do an arrangement. She was a bit apprehensive because she had never done an interpretation before, but her sister, an avid gardener and flower arranger herself, became her mentor, giving her the confidence she needed. Nancy’s been hooked ever since.

Most of the members of the garden club consider themselves to be “dirt gardeners” rather than floral designers. Consequently, it’s often difficult to convince them that they have the talent to produce a beautiful flower arrangement. And they truly do. This year, Nancy’s enthusiasm has been contagious and we have more participants than ever before. We also have more artwork, so we invited several local florists to participate as well.

Visual arts department chair, Laurie Mead-McGrory says that Norwood students produced pieces from two different assignments this year. The first, titled “On the Cellular Level,” involved students spending a day in a biology lab looking through microscopes and sketching what they saw. Students then worked from their sketches to create a piece of art that visually interpreted the cells. The second assignment was to create symbolic self-portraits in which students had to examine what made them unique and then create symbols that represented their personalities.

Walpole High School’s visual arts department head, Sandy Allison, says Walpole artists were challenged to create a variety of subjects – from landscapes, to still-lifes, portraits and abstracts, using mixed media, colored pencils, color mixing, glazing and layering techniques.

The historic George H. Morse House, at 1285 Washington Street in South Norwood, will once again host this year’s Art in Bloom. Dale Day, Morse House Committee Chairman, and an enthusiastic supporter of Art in Bloom since its inception, says it is one of the highlights of the year for her.

“It is a truly wonderful event linking students from local high schools with talented designers from the garden club and residents of Norwood, Walpole and surrounding communities," Day said. "We’re hoping for a record turnout this year.”

Next month, I’ll share the names of student and designer participants along with photos of this event. Meanwhile, I invite you to come and support our artists and arrangers on Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, April 6, 1-5 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

Donna Lane is co-chair of 2014 Art in Bloom and a founding member of the Norwood Evening Garden Club. You can reach Donna at AddictedGardener@verizon.net.

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