ATTLEBORO -- As the area grabs its shovels and revs up its snowblowers to deal with the aftermath of the latest nor’easter, could there be a better time for a flower show?

That’s what organizers of the Attleboro Arts Museum Flower Show are hoping. The 22nd annual event opens Thursday, March 22, and runs through Sunday, March 25, at the downtown venue.

This year’s theme is “Blast Off — Celestial Gardens,” and aims to “launch visitors into the beauty of a galaxy composed of bold landscapes and striking floral arrangements,” the museum says.

There will also be horticulture and artistic floral arranging, gardening presentations and demonstrations, special events for all ages, and a nature-themed exhibition of original artwork throughout the museum.

Nine exhibitors have been working on displays that dovetail with the “celestial theme” and in some way represent a planet or night sky phenomena.

“The Flower Show committee brainstorms a selection of options once the previous year’s show has ended,” museum Executive Director Mim Fawcett said via email, explaining how the theme was chosen. “We try to head in a new direction, so that all exhibitors can catch the fever and be inspired by a fresh set of potential colors, materials and concepts”

The “outer space” theme was a hit with the committee from the start, she said.

“There’s always a great deal of whimsy during the Flower Show,” Fawcett added. “After a long and difficult winter we all need to laugh a bit. This year for sure.”

Flower Show committee members are Sarah Mott and Joanne Stevenson (co-chairs), Amy Rhilinger, Sherry Scholl, Marion Volterra and Belinda Gabryl.

This year’s displays are provided by Art Set, Attleboro; Attleboro Farms, North Attleboro; Briggs Nursery, North Attleboro; Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton; Flowers by the Station, Attleboro; Helping Hands Florist, Plainville; Nolan’s Flowers and Gifts, North Attleboro; Oracle Landscape & Lindsey Epstein Pottery, Tiverton, R.I.; and Rosebud Florist Inc. of Pawtucket, which is making its first show appearance.

“The exhibitors have really embraced the theme,” Fawcett said. “Attleboro Farms selected the planet Venus as their inspiration. They have incorporated a replica of the Venus de Milo sculpture into a lush garden.

“Art Set has viewers traveling to Mercury and celebrates the planet’s rich hues of blue and dramatic surface details. Flowers by the Station shines a spotlight on the Milky Way by creating a swirling force of live flowers and dried materials.”

‘One Small Step’

Along with the major garden installations, this year’s floral artists will be creating a shoe, boot or other footwear design for a competition titled “One Small Step,” a salute to Neil Armstrong’s famous words upon landing on the Moon. The floral statements will be on the lower level of the museum.

The show also offers demonstrations from naturalists, hands-on creative activities for children and families, live music, raffles, a plant sale from Attleboro High School, cut flowers in a variety of colors, and a collection of gifts in the expanded museum gift shop.

Artist Alice Benvie Gebhart’s kiln-fired glass designs will be featured in the show’s Big Dipper Café’s boutique on the lower level. (Elevator service is available.)

“Our popular Sponsor Wall features the work of local artists Sarah Mott, Belinda Gabryl, Sally Cobb and Angus Schaefer,” Fawcett said. “They have designed and created a variety of original ‘Celestial Garden-themed’ ceramic items so that Flower Show sponsors can take home a gift of thanks for their donation.”

The show’s Benefit Preview, “Star Gazing — A Night Beneath the Stars,” was postponed from Wednesday night to Thursday night because of the snowstorm. It will feature pianist Mark Taber and demonstrations by Attleboro-based floral and event designer Michelle Pupa of Belle Flora. Gebhart will also be on hand. Tickets are $15 for museum members, $17 for non-members; includes wine, beer and light hors d’oeuvres.

If you go ...

WHAT: Attleboro Arts Museum’s annual Flower Show

WHEN: Thursday, March 22, to Sunday, March 25

WHERE: Attleboro Arts Museum, 86 Park St., Attleboro

HOURS: Thursday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m.

ADMISSION: $3 each day, free for children 9 and younger

THEME: “Blast Off – Celestial Gardens”

PREVIEW SHOW: Thursday, March 22, 6 to 8 p.m. (postponed from Wednesday night). Tickets are $15 for museum members; $17 for non-members.


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