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The Artisans Cup inaugural exhibition took place at the Portland Art Museum, which was opened two weeks ago from Friday, September 25 and lasted until Sunday, September 27.

The goal of the event was to elevate and highlight the current state of American Bonsai, and bring it to the masses in an environment worthy of high art. The American Bonsai movement seeks to pioneer a path that differs from traditional Japanese practices, whilst still maintaining a level of professionalism and creativity that honors this age old tradition and art.

Orchestrated by Bonsai professional Ryan Neil and his wife Chelsea Neil, the event showcased a complete spectrum of 70 trees by some of the most talented and accomplished Bonsai professionals across the country. The displays were judged by five internationally recognized Bonsai authorities, each bringing their own perspective and talent to the critiques. The part exhibition, part competition was in many ways the first of its kind, a display of current and forward works of American Bonsai.

The exhibition experience was intimate, deep, and contemplative. The stunning displays consisted of bespoke fabricated steel and plywood modular stands, finished in a dramatic black finish. Each tree was lit individually by two fixtures, highlighting every facet of each Artisans display. The exhibition design was provided by world-renowned architecture firm, Skylab Architecture.

The overall winner of the Artisans Cup was Randy Knight for his fantastic 650 year old Rocky Mountain Juniper. He also took first in the accent plant portion of the competition. Second place went to Tim Priest’s 300 year old Sierra Juniper, and third place to Amy Blanton for her 450 year old Rocky Mountain Juniper. In total, the winners took home $18,000 in prize money.

The Artisans Cup is slated to exhibit again in four years in Sydney, Australia and future plans include hosting the event at a museum in New York City.

For more information regarding the event click here.

Written by Arthur Hitchcock

Words by Staff
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