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Art & Flowers at Smokey Point Plant Farm
SMOKEY POINT — Organizers of a new art event at the Plant Farm at Smokey Point expect this to be the first of many more in the future.
Kent Baker and Denise Schwans of the Arlington Arts Council have been working with Mary Archambault, a partner at the Plant Farm at Smokey Point, to create a major new retail event for north county artists.
“We are calling this the first annual because we are so confident it will be a huge success,” Archambault said last week while wrapping up the details for the event that runs during their business hours on Sept. 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“It represents our new marketing strategy,” added Archambault, who is a partner with plant farm owner Joel Hylback.
The idea started in July, after the AAC’s Art in the Barn, when the group of about 40 active artists started brainstorming ideas for another unique retail event. An art advocate, Penny Peeters, of Penway Printing, had suggested having an art show at the plant farm, and outdoor photographer Kent Baker, his wife Roberta Baker and fellow photographer Denise Schwans approached plant farm management.
“This wonderful man and his wife from Arlington Arts Council came and said ‘we would love to have an art show at the plant farm,’” Archambault said.
“Our first response was, ‘great let’s do it!’”
So the organizers proceeded to recruit an impressive line-up of talented artists from the region, including members of the Arlington Arts Council, the Stanwood-Camano Art Guild and the Greater Marysville Art Guild.
The proposal landed in the lap of the plant farm management’s discussion to have community events each month. They have hosted a huge fall festival in October with the Marysville Rotary for several years already and are developing some other events.
“The plant farm has been very receptive and incredibly cooperative,” said Schwans, who studied digital photography with Kent Baker through the city of Arlington’s recreation program.
“The green house is incredible,” she said. “The lighting is great.”
“It will enhance the art beautifully,” Baker agreed.
The plant farm management agreed to rearrange their displays to accommodate the 40 registered artists. They wired the greenhouse with 220 to accommodate an expresso stand, and they will let the artists use their carts for loading in their displays, Baker said.
“The plant farm is charging us nothing to use their facility and they have already done a lot of advertising of us,” he added.
The first publicity came out in the plant farm’s special publication for its Hot August Nights sale that came out in early August soon after their initial meeting. The 24-page publication dedicated one whole page to the art show.
“We want to make this event bigger and better every year,” Archambault said.
“We feel that art will fit in perfectly with our plants and beautiful landscaping and are excited to have music and food as well,” Archambault said.
One of the participating artists from Stanwood, Chaim Bezalel-Levy said he and his wife are excited to show their work among the plants with their fellow north county artists.
Along with owning the Stanwood House Art Gallery, they are members of the Stanwood Camano Arts Guild, which sponsors Art by the Bay in July, and Camano Arts Association, organizers of the Mother’s Day Art Tour on Camano Island, as well as Cascade Clay Artists and Washington Potters Association.
“We are joiners,” he admitted. “And we thought it was really nice of the Arlington artist group to invite us. We like hanging around with artists and being part of the effort to share art in the community we live in. Also we hope to make some money,” Bezalel-Levy admitted.
Chaim said his wife, Yonnah, will premiere at the show a new line of jewelry which combines glass fusing, silver and clay. Bezalel-Levy collaborate on large horizontal and vertical scroll paintings that feature landscape photographs by Chaim that are enhanced by Yonnah.
Archambault is sad to say that she will not be around for the show.
“I am going to Germany to visit my brother and his wife and will be visiting a lot of nursuries there.”
She is confident that the organizers will put on a great show that will enhance the flower and garden show presented daily, all year round at the Plant Farm.
Baker and Schwans are also excited about the project’s contributions toward the AAC’s goal to acquire public art for Arlington.
“Even after covering all the costs, we will have some extra money to contribute to the public art fund,” Baker said they have brought in $1,800 and costs are at $1,300 so they will have $500 for the fund.
“That’s thanks to the plant farm for not charging us. Even at the very affordable booth fee of $50 and after paying the musicians and other expenses, we will be able to make a contribution.”
Schwans and the Bakers are also donating original photographs for the AAC’s Fall into Art Auction which is set for Oct. 18. Donations for the auction comprise the current display at the Arlington Library.