Come Watch the Hudgens “Bloom”

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Take a talented artist, give them a theme of flower subjects, and amazing things happen. You will see this at “Bloom! An Invitational Exhibition Featuring Steve Penley,” a regional, themed exhibit including works by artists from throughout the Southeast, opening at the Hudgens Center for the Arts on Thursday, March 1.# Two companion exhibits will open at the same time, including “Buds! Children”s Flower Artwork Invitational,” and “Blossoms! Emerging Talent from North Gwinnett High School.” #All three exhibits will be on display through May 12, and are sponsored by Primerica Foundation.

Atlanta artist Steve Penley will be the featured artist for “Bloom!” #Penley is known widely for his life-sized portraits and murals in an expressionistic realism style, as well as his illustrated book, “Ronald Reagan and the American Ideal.”# #His work is shown throughout Georgia and the US in numerous collections; for more information about Penley, and to see examples of his work, please visit his website at

For “Bloom!,” Penley turns his talents to floral themes.# He says of his work: “These paintings are not documentaries of their respective subjects per se, but simply representations of the common bonds we all share with them. These formal and sometimes stoic images are a great contrast with bright colors and expressionistic brush strokes. And, hopefully this will give familiar subjects new life.”#

In addition to Penley, 16 other artists will be exhibiting their unique talents in all styles and mediums in the “Bloom” exhibit, including such well-known names as Eric Strauss, who has had an installation at the Atlanta airport and is in the permanent collection at the Booth Museum; Jane Burke, who works in wood marquetry; and Martine House, who works in fiber sculpture.# All of the artists are using floral subjects but bending it to their style and medium. You can expect beautiful art, from jewelry to iron work, wood marquetry to paintings, and everything in between.

“Buds!” will feature flower-themed artwork by the Hudgens” own young art students and by the next generation of Penleys.# “You will be charmed by these lovely and na##ve works created by art students currently taking classes here, and the works by Penley”s children are just adorable!# They are a perfect complement to the “Bloom!” exhibit by mature and accomplished artists,”# states Angela Nichols, Programming & Education Director at the Hudgens.

“Blossoms!” will include works by the Draw/Paint Art II students of North Gwinnett High School Visual Arts Department Chair, Debi West.# The art students recently completed a still life series of three artworks drawn from direct observation and using a set of different techniques.# One study used graphite and charcoal, one used mixed media as a contour line and color theory study, and the final piece was done in an historical art style, based on a master artist that appealed to the student.# Some twenty works from this series were chosen for the exhibit.# West states, “I am extremely proud of their hard work and dedication to the visual arts – their art is documenting their world!”#

There will be a reception for all three exhibits on Saturday, March 3, from 2 to# p.m.# A good chance to view the works and meet the artists, the reception is free and open to the public.

On Friday, March 23, there will be a Curator”s Talk, during which Board Member and exhibit co-curator Linda Lindeborg will give a guided tour of “Bloom!” and talk about the works selected to be in this invitational exhibit.# The Curator”s Talk will start at 11:00 a.m., and is free to members of the Hudgens and included in the regular admissions fee of just $5 for adults, $3 for children, seniors and students.

Saturday, April 21 will be a “Flower Power” Family Day at the Hudgens, featuring a scavenger hunt through the new exhibits, plus guided hands-on activities relating to the floral exhibits from 10 to noon.# Admission will be free all day; the Hudgens is open from 10 to 5 p.m.

The Hudgens Center, built in 1993, has a long track record of exciting exhibitions and events. Last year the Center awarded the $50,000 Hudgens Prize to one Georgia artist. The event brought national attention to the Hudgens. This unique art center also provides a wide variety of learning opportunities for all ages in its fine arts school, featuring a state of the art ceramics studio and painting studios. The Center also reached into Gwinnett County schools with a creative program that integrated the concepts of math and art for 6th graders. All of these programs and events flow from the mission of the Hudgens: it is a place that truly brings art lovers, leaders and learners together.

For information about the “Bloom!” exhibit and the artists, please contact Linda Lindeborg at 678-546-1023 or

For more information about art exhibits, events and classes at the Hudgens, please visit the website at or call 770-623-6002.