Fitchburg Art Museum, in partnership with the Laurelwood Garden Club, is preparing for its colorful and much-anticipated 21st annual Art in Bloom event, to be held Thursday, April 25, through Sunday, April 28, at the museum, 185 Elm St. The event coincides with Art Week in Massachusetts, which runs April 26 through May 5.

"For these four days, the art museum's galleries will feature over 40 flower arrangements created by Laurelwood Garden Club members, local florists, friends of the garden club, Fitchburg State University students and individuals interpreting the art in each of the galleries," says Jessie Olson, Fitchburg Art Museum membership and events manager.

Guests can see floral interpretations from FAM's current exhibitions, including "Fire and Light: Otto Piene in Groton, 1983-2014," "Broad Strokes: American Painting from the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries from the FAM Collection," and "The Collected Image: Photography Portfolios," as well as ongoing exhibitions "Moving Objects: African and Oceanic Art from the Fitchburg Art Museum," "Evoking Eleanor" and "Discover Ancient Egypt."

"Art in Bloom is a popular tradition that audiences of all ages can enjoy," Olson says. "This year features interpretations by several generations, some within the same family. One young interpreter is participating this year alongside his grandmother.


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Another young man is participating with his mother and grandmother -- it's truly a family affair."

Art in Bloom will be celebrated Thursday, from 1 to 5 p.m., and Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Art in Bloom is not only an opportunity to celebrate spring and cast off the gray of winter, but a way to look at the artwork in our galleries through a different perspective," Olson says. "Looking at the flower arrangements with the choice of colors, flowers and containers gives visitors an opportunity to focus on something in the artwork they may not have seen before."

An elegant Champagne Reception, featuring live music from Wachusett Jazz and hors d'oeuvres by Eating In, will be Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m., in the museum's lobby.

"The Champagne Reception is a celebration of Art in Bloom and our way to honor the interpreters who have given their time and talents to the arrangements," Olson says.

At the reception, the recipient of The Laurelwood Garden Club's Kate Previte Award will be presented to one of the interpreters.

Tickets are $30, or $25 for Fitchburg Art Museum members, and can be purchased at the museum's front desk, online at www.fitchburgartmuseum.org or by calling 978-345-4207.

On Saturday, a Sky Art event, celebrating German-born artist Otto Piene, who lived his later years in Groton, will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Lowe Park, across the street from the museum.

"Participants of all ages are invited to help fly an inflatable sculpture," Olson says. "For those who'd rather participate as active observers, an interactive drawing activity will be available."

Art in Bloom was established to bring inside beautification to the community, says Julie Palioca, public-relations director of the Laurelwood Garden Club.

"It is a welcome event to bring in spring," Palioca says. "Each year, the Laurelwood Garden Club extends an invitation to local members of the community to participate in Art in Bloom by way of selecting an artwork to interpret and to explore their floral-design talent."

A Blooming Plant Sale will also be hosted by The Laurelwood Garden Club on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

"Visitors can purchase a variety of plants, such as hanging floral baskets, container flowers, fairy garden creations, flats and a mixture of floral selections on display," Palioca says. "Members will be on hand to assist in the plant selection."

Guests will have an opportunity to cast a ballot for their favorite artwork interpretation for the People's Choice Award and are welcome to stop by the garden club's table for more information.

The Laurelwood Garden Club contributes to the community by way of helping students pursue a career in horticulture, botany, agriculture, landscape design, floral design or environmental studies. Two scholarships for $1,000 each will be offered this year. Students can obtain an application from their school guidance office or by contacting club member Kathleen McGuigan at 978-582 -9370.

The club meets on the second Friday of each month, September through June, at the museum, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Membership is open to all who enjoy any type of gardening inside or out, are retired gardeners or are interested in floral design and working with flowers.

"We welcome all visitors to visit the Fitchburg Art Museum and take advantage of the beauty of the museum as well as the beauty of the unique floral arrangements within," Palioca says.

Fitchburg Art Museum was founded in 1925, and its five-building complex, with more than 20,000 square feet of exhibition space, features exhibitions from its art historical collections as well as special exhibitions focused on New England contemporary art.

The museum serves the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster and the surrounding communities in North Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

"The Fitchburg Art Museum is committed to learning, creativity and community-building," Olson says. "Whether you come during Art in Bloom or any day, there is always fun at the museum. You don't have to travel far to have the chance to discover Ancient Egypt, explore Africa, experience our founder, Eleanor Norcross, or see something completely new in our changing exhibitions of contemporary New England art. It is a great way to spend the day with friends, family or on your own."

Art in Bloom is free with admission to the museum and free for all museum members. For more information on the museum, visit www.fitchburgartmuseum.org, or call 978-345-4207. For more information on the Laurelwood Garden Club, guests are welcome to attend a meeting or you are welcome to call Palioca at 978-537-7630.