I’ve received questions from clubs in recent weeks about what they can do to support the Pacific Bonsai Expo this fall. They’re excited about the event and they want to help!
As part of documenting the process of how the event is coming together, I thought I’d share suggestions for how bonsai clubs can support regional bonsai events like the Expo.
- My top suggestion is for clubs to spread awareness about the exhibition among its membership. This can include mentioning the event at club meetings and publishing dates and venue information in the club newsletter and on social media accounts (#pacificbonsaiexpo: see dates and venue info for the Expo below).
- Clubs are also in a great position to encourage their members to submit trees for juried exhibitions like the Expo or the U.S National Bonsai Exhibition. Encouraging members to submit trees can raise awareness about the club (the Expo will note club affiliations, if any, with accepted entries) and help clubs identify members who can show trees in their own exhibitions.
Some clubs have looked at providing services to their members that relate to the exhibit.
- By hosting a photo day, clubs can help members set up displays and take photos so they can submit their trees to the jury for consideration. (The submission period for the Expo is open now through April 30.)
- Clubs can also arrange for accepted entries to be driven to the exhibit. For clubs that aren’t close to the Oakland, California, venue, setting up a car pool can help members get their trees to the exhibit and reduce the number of cars headed to the event.
- On the education front, clubs can present programs on exhibit-related topics like evaluation, display, and show prep. I’ve presented on these topics to a number of local clubs and there are a variety of enthusiasts and professionals around the country who are well-qualified to lead similar programs. Some clubs (Bay Island Bonsai is an example) include discussion of member displays at every monthly meeting!
Photography setup at the 2014 U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition
One thing I haven’t seen much in the US is the idea of a “club display.” This would be any display that includes components contributed by different club members. The approach can work well with small and medium sized trees in that multiple members can contribute trees or an accent that will be displayed together.
We did this informally at the Bay Island Bonsai exhibit when we mixed and matched display elements including trees, stands, and accents. By doing the matching up front it can be much easier to create a display with multiple elements like a shohin display, and it could help make a submission more competitive by combining multiple outstanding display elements.
Shohin display at the 2019 Gafu-ten
If your club is located in the greater Bay Area, it might be in a good position to provide resources to help the event run smoothly.
- Clubs can encourage members to volunteer at the event. We’re currently looking for project leads, and once we’ve identified these we’ll put out a general call for volunteers later in the year.
- Ambitious clubs are welcome to serve as project lead by managing the volunteers for an aspect of the event like security or the front desk. You can see a list of project lead opportunities on the Expo Volunteer page.
There are also opportunities for clubs to support the event financially.
- One way to provide support is to cover exhibitor’s fees for any members whose trees are accepted for display.
- Clubs are also welcome to sponsor awards or make direct contributions to the event (see Donations and Sponsorships for details).
If you have questions about any of the above suggestions or have additional suggestions for how bonsai clubs can support regional events, feel free to note them in the comments below.
The Pacific Bonsai Expo
The Bridge Yard, Oakland, California
November 12-13, 2022
News and Updates
- This weekend is the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt’s annual fundraiser, the Mammoth Bazaar. Auction Saturday 12-4. Vendor and club sales Sunday 9-3. See more info at the BGLM website. View auction catalog.
- The submission period for the Expo is now open! If you’re thinking about participating in the event, check out the submission guidelines.
- A number of trees are available on the bonsai sales page and client sales page. Local sales only – shipping is not available at this time.
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