Medford in Bloom: Art Festival Celebrates Sixteenth Year
Mother’s Day weekend has seen downtown Medford transform into an oasis of art, education, performance, and community at the Art in Bloom Festival for the past fifteen years. This year will be no different. On May 7th and 8th, Vogel Plaza and the surrounding blocks of downtown Medford will be filled with live music, fine artists, and interactive fun for all ages.
“There is really something for everyone,” says event coordinator Amy Rose. She assures us that the sixteenth year of Art in Bloom will be huge and “very hands-on.” Huge indeed: this once-small arts event originally occupied only two streets, while Year Sixteen will fill a whopping ten. It’s also the only event left in downtown Medford proper, everything else having been moved to The Commons. Over the years, what began as a focused fine arts event has simply exploded into a full-blown festival that explores the many ways our community and beyond think and work creatively.
True to the event’s origins, West Coast-based fine arts will be celebrated through exhibits and vendors—almost 100 artists and horticulturalists will be in attendance to showcase their work, an array of fine handmade goods from photography to jewelry to garden decor, just to name a few. There will also be art in motion with live graffiti and blown glass displays, among others, as well as returning chalk artist Jamie Bryn, whose creations come to life on the pavement.
Mothers will also be celebrated, as usual, at Art in Bloom. Not only is the festival a popular spot for last minute gift ideas for Mom, there will be free Mother’s Day-focused activities for kids to take part in. Hope Ranch, a Eugene-based non-profit that raises awareness about and provides resources for survivors of human trafficking, will help children plant a flower to celebrate the women in their lives. There will also be an arts and crafts tent where kids can make their own piece of art for mom.
Other free events for kids include educational interactions with live animals: Nature Joe will give children the opportunity to hold a variety of animals at his “ark,” which will be located between the Craterian Theater and the Rogue Gallery. There will be an additional petting zoo complete with ponies, goats, and baby ducks, for kids of all ages. ScienceWorks will be in attendance to provide yet more interactive fun with several hands-on exhibits, and Annie the clown will be a one-woman circus complete with face painting, a puppet theater, and a bounce house.
Though there’s certainly plenty to celebrate at this event, celebration isn’t the only goal of Art in Bloom: this non-profit strives to promote arts education in primary schools and, over the years, in addition to many years of festival organizing, has funded projects and awards all over the Rogue Valley.
Two days hardly seem enough to get through such a huge event. Still, save time to kick back with a refreshment and catch live music and dance performances, too. Food vendors will be in attendance, as well as lemonade stands designed and run by kid entrepreneurs. Don’t worry: if you’re looking for something a bit more adult, there will be a pop-up bar complete with drink specials to help celebrate mom. The Bartlett Stage, which will be set up in the Banner Bank parking lot, will feature such local favorites as Blowin’ Smoke and Blue Lightning, among others. The Demonstration Stage will showcase art through movement on Central Avenue.
Thanks to the continued efforts of this hard-working non-profit, downtown Medford is in for yet another year of artistic transformation with Art in Bloom. As coordinator Amy Rose says, “At this point, it’s so much more than just an art festival.”
Art in Bloom
10 am – 5 pm, Saturday, May 7 and 11 am – 4 pm, Sunday, May 8
Vogel Plaza (and surrounding blocks), Medford