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Art in the Garden blossoms at botanical center

Art in the Garden blossoms at botanical center

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Artists, food trucks and near-perfect weather all joined together for the inaugural Art in the Garden at the QC Botanical Center.

Vendors selling nature-inspired prints, clothing, quilts and other artwork filled the gardens as families with young children and couples strolled the grounds.

According to marketing and event manager Ryan Wille, this new event is a creative way to raise awareness about the botanical center and get people out to visit. 

"We were looking for a way to get people here to literally just enjoy a day," Mr. Wille said. "We have a few different groups of people who think about the garden in a very specific way, so we really wanted to get people here and have a whole day of creativity and see everything happening at one time.

Spoken word by six different poets and live music from Dueling Skyz cover band floated out of an air-conditioned canopy area while dozens of people shopped and browsed artwork.

Organizers hope to continue the event in upcoming years. Mr. Wille expects the event to double in size in the future by bringing in even more vendors.

"We always had a good relationship with the artists in the community," said Ami Jenkins, executive director of the Botanical Center said. "Artists are so often inspired by nature. It's a perfect fit, and we wanted to strengthen that bond and bring something new and fresh, as far as an event goes, to bring in a new audience."

Davenport food truck Cinnamon-N-Sage LLC and Eldridge Trails End made an appearance at the event, while Moline's Fresh Blends handed out smoothie samples. 

The artists were largely local, including The Ed Strobl Collection, Ralph Iaccarino and Hot Glass Inc. The Living Proof Exhibit, featuring cancer survivor artwork, was also on display. 

"When you see someone super-passionate about something, it is contagious. I am just caught up with survivors compassion," volunteer Michele Darland said. "We don't have anything like this exhibit in the Quad-Cities."

The exhibit included a hospital gown attendees of Art in the Garden could sign with encouraging messages for cancer patients. 

For Mary Umbarger, seeing the botanical center has grown was a big highlight of the day.

"It's probably been about 10 or 15 years since I've been here, and so I hadn't seen all the expansion that they've done with the splash pad," Ms. Umbarger said. "My son Ryan is 6 and having such a good time today. It's a good way to get out of the house with all the food and people and the music."


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