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Art in Bloom Invitational Exhibit

Art will be in full bloom at the annual Art in Bloom Invitational Exhibit opening at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center. The exhibit will feature artwork in themes of flowers, spring or renewal and will be held in conjunction with Medford's downtown Art in Bloom celebration.

"The exhibit is a big part of the festival," says Judy Barnes, the gallery's executive director. "We get about 2,000 visitors through here each year for the event."

While there's plenty of art — and flowers — at the booths filling Vogel Plaza during Art in Bloom, festival-goers can view fine art by some of Rogue Valley's best artists in the Rogue's main gallery, and they can vote for their favorite. The one that garners the most votes is selected as the People's Choice and is purchased by the city of Medford.

"I think it's cool that visitors look at the art to consider what the city should own," Barnes says.

Each year, Barnes asks organizations such as the Medford Arts Commission, the Rogue Gallery's exhibition committee and local galleries to nominate artists for the show, and different mediums are involved.

"There are six new artists in the show this year, out of the 10 we selected." Barnes says. "We like to keep the show fresh and let visitors discover new artists."

Florals and landscapes have been a big part of the show in the past. This year, visitors will see pressed-flower arrangements, fabric art, ceramics and some botanical paintings. The artists include Michael Gibson, Janet London, Julie VandenBerg, Adrienne Husum, Susan Burnes, Ann DiSalvo, Leslie Lee, Dennis Meiners, Charlotte Abernathy and Harriet Rex Smith.

Three large-scale florals by Korean artist Choon Hyang Yun also will be featured at the gallery. Yun's pieces are a separate, complementary exhibit to the invitational show.

A reception for the artists will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, at the gallery. The People's Choice winner will be selected Sunday, May 10.

The gallery will be open extended hours for the festival weekend — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 9, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 10.

This year's crop of smudge pots — a regular attraction at Art in Bloom — will be unveiled at the Rogue Gallery's opening reception. Regional artists have been commissioned to create art from ordinary orchard heaters. These creative pieces will be available for purchase during the Art in Bloom Festival. One will be raffled over the weekend to a lucky winner, and some will be sold at the Rogue Gallery's annual benefit auction held in late August.

From noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, hands-on art activities for children will be available in a tent set up behind the gallery. Information and registration for the Rogue Gallery's Summer Art Camps also will be available.

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is a nonprofit community art center, founded in 1960 to promote and support the arts in the Rogue Valley. The Gallery offers local artists an opportunity to display their work and offer classes to children and adults.

The Art in Bloom Invitational will be displayed through Saturday, May 23, at the Rogue Gallery. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. See roguegallery.org or call 772-8118.

Ceramics, including work by Applegate artist Dennis Meiners (foreground), have taken a place in the annual Art in Bloom Invitational Exhibit at the Rogue Gallery, along with fiber art, pressed flowers and other media. - Photo by Bob Pennell