Reserve the date – on October 4-6, 2013, Michael Hagedorn and Ryan Neil will celebrate the inaugural Artisans Cup of Portland Bonsai Exhibition, the most exciting bonsai event on the horizon for 2013. Here are some of the more salient details:
- The event will be held at the Portland Art Museum – an fantastic home for the event that promises to elevate the appreciation of bonsai far beyond the relatively parochial bonsai community
- 150 bonsai will be displayed at the exhibit
- Submission is open to anyone – both amateurs and professionals are invited to exhibit trees
- There are no restrictions on who may work – or have worked – on the trees in the exhibit
Knowing how much effort is required to stage relatively small bonsai exhibits, I cannot imagine how much time Michael and Ryan are investing to ensure the success of this ambitious event.
Bonsai in the museum (photo from Artisans Cup website)
One of their biggest accomplishments has been sharing details about everything – and everyone – that’s contributing to the event. They’ve set up a website that answers all of the basic questions, a blog that they’ve used to personalize each contributor, and an active Facebook page with additional details and up-to-the-minute news.
The exhibit promises some outstanding specimens as significant cash prizes will be awarded to winning trees – $10,000 for first prize, $5,000 for second prize, $3,000 for third prize, and $500 for the best companion plant.
What is required for entry? Four photographs (one shot from each side), a brief description of the tree and its container, and pertinent contact information.
- Submissions will be accepted May 1 – July 1, 2013 – see Submission Instructions for details
- Ryan and Michael will select the top 150 submissions two months before the exhibit – while both plan to display some of their own trees, these trees will not be eligible for awards
- The fee to exhibit trees selected by the jury will be $120 per display – either one large tree with companion plant, two medium trees with companion plant, or some assortment of shohin bonsai and companion plants; avant-garde displays will also be considered
- Five judges – David De Groot, Colin Lewis, Boon Manakitivipart, Peter Warren, Walter Pall – will select the prize-winning trees; judges may submit trees to the exhibit that will be eligible for judging, however special precautions will be in place to ensure fair voting
- Submissions of deciduous bonsai must include photographs of the trees in winter so the trees can be juried without leaves
For those who want to participate but don’t live near Portland, Ryan and Michael are arranging transportation from New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles to drive trees to and from the event. Any required permits along the way will be obtained by the drivers to ensure smooth transit.
Visitors to the event will not only be treated to an outstanding exhibit but to an impressive collection of bonsai vendors. Ryan and Michael are aiming to elevate bonsai in the Unites States and are doing what they can to support our local artisans. U.S. made pots and stands will be available, as well as an assortment of other bonsai-related wares.
Even those who may not be able to attend will be able to enjoy the exhibit through photographs. Bonsai Focus will be shooting the show and producing a book, and the judges comments will be posted online for educational purposes.
Sponsors for the event are welcome, and there is still opportunity to offer support. Expect a Kickstarter campaign later this Fall.
Although I’m not affiliated with the event, I’m a longtime friend of Michael’s, and a big fan of both Ryan and Michael’s work. I’m excited about attending the exhibit and have been pacing around my garden of late looking for suitable submissions. Even though the event is a year out, I’d like to thank Ryan and Michael for their work to date on the project and offer what encouragement I can. Thanks to both of you – I’m looking forward to it!
Ryan Neil (photo from Artisans Cup blog)