Montgomery County artists created five of the 26 cherry blossom statues on display that are scattered throughout the Greater Washington, D.C. area.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival has gone virtual for the second year in a row to discourage crowds from heading to the Tidal Basin to view the beautiful pink blossoms. Art in Bloom is part of the effort and was created to honor the vibrant art scene in the area. Each selected artist was given a large, gray fiberglass cherry blossom statue to design any way they wanted. As of March 20, the winning sculptures are on display in each of the district’s eight wards, National Harbor, Aurora Highlands and the National Landing neighborhoods in Northern Virginia.
Residents are encouraged to visit the festive displays and post a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @CherryBlossFest and using #artinbloom in the caption.
Sandra Perez-Ramos decided to play with the shape of the sculpture and make it festive. To her, cherry blossoms represent the end of winter, the coming of summer, rebirth and reinvention. She used lots of dots, lines and spirals, which are common in much of her artwork.
Perez-Ramos, a Puerto Rican artist who lives in Silver Spring, calls her creation “Celebration.” It is at 4th Street NW and Butternut Street streets in the Takoma Park section of D.C. Previously, she was chosen by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to design a poster celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in 2020 and led the Latinx artists at the Wheaton Arts Parade.
Jesse Kirsch of Takoma Park describes himself as a letter press printer and graphic designer. So it seemed natural to him to use the whole alphabet to decorate his sculpture that is on display at 4200 Connecticut Ave. You can view this by the Van Ness Metro. He called it “ABC DC.”
He used a typeface from the 1800s as he wanted to take an historic approach, he said. He combined the history of D.C., which includes the alphabetic order of naming streets, the Japanese people giving the cherry trees to the United States and the history of letter press, he explained.
Cory Oberndorfer of Rockville continued his popsicle-themed artwork to create his statute, which he calls Ice Flavors. It is located at Wisconsin Avenue and Reservoir Road NW. He used spray paint to decorate the tips of the flower in summer time popsicle colors of strawberry, orange, lime, blue raspberry, and grape. He is described as “an artist fixated on nostalgia, American popular culture, and the joy of life’s simple pleasures.”
Peijisan Art of Gaithersburg said she has “always been drawn to and inspired by Asian culture and art.” Her sculpture is based on origami and traditional design motifs on paper known as chiyogami and has “colors moving from darker at the bottom to lighter and more pink and bright at the top, similar to a blossom itself.” Her creation is located at the Enid Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle. She also helps to manage the Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery.
Ameena Fareeda of Silver Spring, is a freelance artist and designer. She named her piece “Renewal Blossom” and said it celebrates the symbolic Japanese Sakura, which is what cherry blossoms are called in Japan. She was inspired by Japanese origami and strove to mimic the pattern detailing of origami paper. Her sculpture is designed to bring “a new sense of hope and rejuvenation.” She used latex exterior paint for the base and acrylic paint for the blossom. Her sculpture also is located at the Enid Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle.
When the festival ends, all 26 sculptures will be sold in the Blossom Auction, with proceeds going to support National Cherry Blossom Festival programs and community initiatives.