Art in Bloom at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

PORT ANGELES — A flower bar, pansy planting station and brand new mural will be part of Art in Bloom, the annual exhibit opening this weekend at the Port Angeles Fine Art Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Admission is free to the display of freshly-arranged flowers, each inspired by artwork from PAFAC’s ‘Science Stories’ exhibition.

Art in Bloom will be on display in the Esther Webster Gallery downtown from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Another fresh piece of art is also taking shape: a pop-up mural by Port Angeles illustrator Cammry Lapka. She turns the piece of plywood covering the center front window frame – where a burglar broke the window in April – into her art canvas.

“When we realized that replacing the glass might take some time, we decided to reach out to local artists to see if we could bring some creative ingenuity to the problem of unsightly plywood,” said Christine Loewe, Executive Director of the Center. Sunday.

“She’s been volunteering her time and artistic skills this week,” Loewe said, adding that Lapka has been painting for three days.

Four artists’ books from the “Science Stories” exhibit were stolen in the break-in, Loewe said, along with specimens from the Slater Museum of Natural History component of the exhibit.

“We were able to rearrange and still have full exposure,” Loewe said.

The arts center did not interrupt its opening hours after the burglary, she added.

Loewe came to work on Monday morning April 18 to find the window smashed and was able to open the gallery later in the week for its usual hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Loewe, along with center staff and volunteers, created two new activities for this year’s Art in Bloom. First of all, the flower bar is for those who want to try their hand at making flower arrangements in the PAFAC courtyard.

Tickets include a container, locally grown flowers, all necessary tools and basic instructions to create an arrangement to take home. Advance purchase is recommended at, as the activity will only be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

Tickets are $30 for PAFAC members and $35 for the general public, with proceeds going to local flower growers and arts center programming.

For children, the Plant-a-Pansy station will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Kids 12 and under can decorate their own miniature pots and learn how to plant flowers. There is no cost to participate; the Airport Garden Center donated flowers for the planting station.

All this is part of a spring tradition at PAFAC. Art in Bloom, launched in 2004, was the vision of dedicated board member and volunteer Mim Foley, who attended the event until his untimely death in 2010.

On May 5 of that year, just after Mother’s Day, Foley died in a car crash a block from the arts center. Foley’s husband, Bud, along with their family and friends, established a memorial fund to ensure the continuity of Art in Bloom. Bud passed away in 2016, but Art in Bloom continued.

Loewe expressed his gratitude to the variety of people supporting Art in Bloom this spring: the Port Angeles Garden Club, a longtime partner, as well as Tin Can Floral, River’s Edge Farmstead and the Airport Garden Center, who shared flowers and floral motifs with PAFAC.

Members of the Olympic Peninsula Board of Judges of the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs are participating in this year’s Art in Bloom main event, including Pamela Ehtee, Billie Fitch, Bernice Cook, Patty Wheatley, Tina Cozzolino, Mary Lou Paulson and Linda Nutter. All hold certificates in floral design and judgment.

Designers Julia Ahrndt, Jenny Edwards and Sandy Giles of Tin Can Floral and River’s Edge Farmstead will also exhibit their designs in the gallery.

Foley’s daughter, Irene Alltucker, reiterated her hopes for this weekend’s event.

“My mom wanted to spend Mother’s Day weekend with a family activity that combined her two great loves: gardening and the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center,” Alltucker said.


Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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