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10th annual Art in Bloom is thriving

Perfectly timed to bring a much-needed, spirit-lifting touch of spring to the Bluegrass, the 10th annual Art in Bloom is coming The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky.

Art in Bloom will feature more than 60 designers, professional and novice, creating floral interpretations to reflect the essence of paintings hanging in the museum's galleries. Be warned, however: Once you see this exhibit, you might be tempted to try your hand at it next year.

Amy Nelson, director of grants and assets at the museum, said there is something for everyone at the show.

"It really is for flower and garden lovers, as well as lovers of art," she said. "You view a work of art differently when you see an interpretation in another medium."

A temporary collection of works from the last century, The British Are Coming!: Discover the New English Art Club, has attracted the attention of many floral designers this year. Designers' statements posted near the arrangements will be posted to clarify a designer's thoughts about process and intent.

Here are a few previews:

■ Floral designer and instructor Sarah Henry and friend Ellen Chapman chose Into the Night, a dramatic and mysterious piece by British artist Charlotte Sorapure that portrays a woman in a red gown fleeing down an enormous dark stone stairway. Henry said she had just noticed a wrought-iron spiral staircase plant stand in her basement. "When I saw that painting, everything clicked," she said.

■ Interior designer Greg Hofelich is planning a daisy-encrusted pavé bowl filled with feathers and topped with long-stemmed roses to highlight geese in a winter scene by British watercolor artist Leslie Worth. Hofelich's tongue-in-cheek statement tells the geese's perspective of the painting, which depicts Regent's Park in London.

■ Luanne Milward arranges flowers for fun. She gathered a group of four women who have been friends for about 30 years for her project. They chose Girl Resting by John Ward, a piece that Milward and husband John have loaned to the exhibition. "It draws you in. You long to be the girl resting," she said. She and friends Amy Kessinger, Margaret Cowgill and Kathy Brooks used a rounded mahogany cheese cradle to echo the wooden chair in the painting, and white tulips, roses, carnations and baby's breath will depict the girl's serene innocence.

■ Judy Baker, a member of the garden department of the Lexington Woman's Club, is working with club member Tina Di Guglielmo to interpret a painting by Thomas Coates called Monday. The painting shows laundry hung on a line to dry. For the texture of grass and greenery, the women use moss and maidenhair fern, with the freshness of clean linen outdoors represented in part by miniature daffodils. "By working as a team, we can give each other feedback and have twice the ideas," she said.

■ Another Woman's Club member, Glenda Ratliff, is collaborating with Harriett Hillenmeyer. They chose Melissa Scott-Miller's Adam & Ant in Moorland, an urban setting with brick buildings in the background and kids playing soccer in the foreground. For the design, Ratliff plans to incorporate chain-link fence from a scrap yard. She already has a soccer ball from when her children played. Neither woman is a professional floral designer. "We don't feel we're experts, but we feed off of it," Ratliff said.

Silent and live auction items at the cocktail reception include paintings by local artists — Dreama Tolle Perry's floral oil works, and a Keeneland watercolor by Carolyn Kielar. The event's signature painting, a rather rococo cherub in mixed media by Adalin Wichman, will be auctioned, and garden planner Jon Carloftis will interpret it with an arrangement. A Florida beachfront escape, VIP access at California's Del Mar racecourse, an evening at a UK basketball game with dinner and good seats, and a glass vessel by José Chardiet that emulates Hopi pottery are among the other auction items.

Go to the museum's Face book page,, for more information.