An Inside Look at Art In Bloom: Part 5

With the big reveal only a few short days away we are concluding our inside look at the Top 20 finalists for the Art In Bloom competition presented by Lighthouse Group. The remaining four entries are sure to delight and bring to mind thoughts of spring, sunshine and Tulip Time.

Untitled | Cynthia Andrews


Tulip Morning | Cynthia Andrews

“Tulip Morning” has a beautiful simplicity and uses color to create a bright cheerful piece by Cynthia Andrews.





Vintage Tulips | Patricia FlynnVintage Tulips | Patricia Flynn

Patricia Flynn “worked from a photo [she] took [herself] at Windmill Island Gardens last May.” She hopes to have captured “a particular glow” that “the reds and yellows in the sun gave off” in her watercolor, “Vintage Tulips.”


Abundance | Beth Charles


Abundance | Beth Charles

At age 6, Beth Charles won a competition for her chalk rendering of tulips and has been striving to “create the next ‘best’ painting of tulips” ever since. “Abundance” is her most recent attempt, inspired by her fondest memories of her childhood garden.



Fiesta | Ann WhitmoreFiesta | Ann Whitmore

Ann Whitmore’s watercolor painting, “Fiesta” is inspired by the Tulip Time festival itself. “The black dot background connects all the elements in the painting, just as the entire community unites yearly to showcase the tulip in Holland.”


Tulips: The Inside Story | Cindy Bender Tulips: The Inside Story | Cindy M. Bender

Using watercolors to bring to the life her piece, Cindy Bender was inspired by the vibrant contrast in colors from the outside to center of tulips. “With tulips, Bender states, as is sometimes with people, we often only notice the outside. This painting, as stated in the title, focuses on “the inside story!”


An Inside Look at Art In Bloom: Part 4

While some artists’ inspiration come from elements of Tulip Time, others take an abstract approach in their art. The concept behind each of the follow five pieces showcases unique viewpoints and interpretations of tulips.

Wind and Flame | Amanda Fickel


Wind and Flame | Amanda Fikel

After Amanda Fikel painted the tulips of “Wind and Flame” she added lines to the negative space creating dimension and movement capturing a festive spirit.




Tulips with a Twist | Mary WestrateTulips with a Twist | Mary Westrate

Tulips that maintained their beauty and integrity even after being bent and twisted by a rainstorm inspired Mary Westrate’s “Tulips with a Twist.” “The journey is not always straight…We adjust and stay strong and beautiful to the end.”


Beyond | Cassandra Garcia


Beyond | Cassandra Garcia

Cassandra Garcia did not want her piece, “Beyond” to just be “good enough.” She uses pastel to have the biggest flower pop in contrast to the charcoal drawn tulips, expressing greatness in the midst of mediocrity.




Gathered Together | Kate MoynihanGathered Together | Kate Moynihan

Kate Moynihan “embellishes the flower’s realistic shape into an impressionistic feel” in her painting, “Gathered Together.” Her interest in how color affects mood and atmosphere was sparked during her nursing career and is evident in her work.


Tulips 3 | Christi Dreese


Tulips 3 | Christi Dreese

“Memories of her grandmother’s flower garden” are brought back to life in Christi Dreese’s “Tulips 3” when she forms shapes with “quick, loose brush strokes” and then “carves through the thick paint with the end of her brush.”



An Inside Look at Art In Bloom: Part 2

What better way to start celebrating Tulip Time early than with our 2015 Art In Bloom poster competition. Our Top 20 finalist in 2015 have blown us away in talent and uniqueness. Before announcing our winner (coming to you on February 5, 2015), we wanted to give you, not only premiere viewing of the Top 20, but also a behind the scenes look at various inspirations, stories and details from the artists themselves!

As a five part series, each blog post will feature five entries highlighting the creative nuances surrounding each piece of art. We hope you enjoy! As always, think tulips!

Garden Variety | Betsy Buurma Morton


Garden Variety |                          Betsy Buurma Morton 

A painter, as well as a gardener, Betsy Buurma Morton created the piece “Garden Variety” as a mixed-media, multi-layered painting inspired by a “confetti mix” bed of tulips.



Spring Green | Betsy Buurma Morton Spring Green | Besty Buurma Morton

“Spring Green” is a woo-cut print with watercolor background grown from Betsy’s idea of carving an image of tulips into wood- “it just seemed to fit with Tulip Time, with the wooden shoes and all…”.





Joy of Spring | Carolyn Stich


Joy of Spring | Carolyn Stich 

The inspiration behind Carolyn Stich’s “Joy Of Spring” came from “…the bright colors of Tulip Time the renew our spirits and make us hopeful and happy”.


Morning Dance | Michael Stewart Morning Dance | Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart was inspired to create “Morning Dance” while watching long, elegant tulip stems sway and interact with flower blossoms in an early morning breeze.



Growing Out of My Shoes | Ardith Post


Growing Out of My Shoes | Ardith Post 

Ardie Post’s husband set a wooden shoe (a family antique) on her art table along with the article about the competition. “The concept seemed natural…the shapes and colors just flowed from my brushes,” as “Growing Out of My Shoes” was created.



An Inside Look at Art in Bloom: Part 3

The Top 20 finalists of the 2015 Art in Bloom competition has brought Tulip Time to life in their pieces. Each artist has captured an element of the festival and highlighted the unique atmosphere it brings to Holland each May. This wonderful, collaborative spirit is truly one of a kind.

As we look into the meaning behind the next five pieces of art it is wonderful to see each artist’s interpretation of Tulip Time elements. From the parades, tulip gardens, and festival goers, each brings an interesting aspect to Tulip Time festivities.

Diversity | Mark DePree


Diversity | Mark DePree

With the use of bright colors and juxtaposition of shapes, Mark DePree’s piece, “Diversity” expresses “…fun, and the diversity of people that Tulip Time represents.”





Merrymaking | Mary Ann DunnMerrymaking | Mary Ann Dunn

Mary Ann Dunn’s entry “Merrymaking” was created with ink powders and watercolor. “I intended that it reflect spontaneity, joy, and the burst of color that tulips bring after a long, drab winter.”




The Winds of Spring | John VanHouten


The Winds of Spring | John Van Houten

The iconic De Zwaan windmill is the centerpiece of “The Winds of Spring” created by John Van Houten. “All of the tulips I incorporated were the varieties available in the Community Tulip Bulb Sale.”




Tulip Parade | John VanHouten


Tulip Parade | John Van Houten

“Tulip Parade” was created by John Van Houten to produce maximum visual impact through the use of large, bright shapes “appearing as if they are marching in a parade.”




Vivacious | Alla Dickson


Vivacious | Alla Dickson

“Vivacious”  is Alla Dickson’s ode to tulips expressing a true “personality” of tulips through vibrant, energetic brush strokes, contrasted colors and fluidness of gentle beauty.



An Inside Look at Art In Bloom


With two weeks until the reveal of the 2015 Tulip Time poster and Art In Bloom winner this time of year is all about the tulips! January marks the start of busy season for Tulip Time staff, Dutch Dancers & Directors, volunteers and City of Holland employees to prepare for the tulips in May. One benchmark of the festival season is the reveal of the Art in Bloom poster competition presented by Lighthouse Group.

Beginning in October, Tulip Time, Lighthouse Group, and the Holland Area Arts Council, invite West Michigan artists to submit entries to be the annual Tulip Time poster. All entries go through a jury process and the Top 20 finalists are named. The winning entry will be revealed Thursday, February 5th, 2015.

The artists of the Top 20 have offered a wide array of color, texture and view point in this year’s competition. We have been so inspired by these 20 pieces of art that we wanted to share pieces of the inspiration behind their creation. Over the next few weeks, join us as we share an inside look into the Top 20 Art In Bloom finalists for 2015.

Sinterklaas is Coming to Town!

‘Tis the season of carol singing, tree decorating, gift giving, and Christmas spirit! But did you know Santa is not the only “Klaas” coming to town? Our Dutch neighbors in the Netherlands celebrate the holiday spirit a little differently than we do here in the States.

While he may look a bit like Santa Claus, Sinterklaas is a loved Dutch character, celebrated by children and adults through an annual parade in Amsterdam. The parade is followed by a tradition of gift giving and holiday cheer!

The Story of Sinterklaas

The legend goes all the way back to 343 AD. Sinterklaas, also known as Saint Nicholas, originated from Turkey but had close ties to the Netherlands. He was an honorable man who brought joy to the children of Amsterdam.  He comes each year in mid-November to s1begin a series of traditional festivities.  Traveling by boat from Spain with his band of merry helpers, the Zwarte Pieten, Sinterklass makes his official entry into the Netherlands. He then trades his boat for a grand white horse and rides into town wearing traditional Bishop’s robes. Accompanied by his helpers, he hands out candy and cookies to thousands of onlookers during his journey through Amsterdam.

Grand Arrival in Amsterdam

Amsterdam hosts the largest Sinterklaas parade in the world. Followed by more and a kilometer of floats, boats, and 600 Zwarte Pieten, Saint Nicholas sails into town November 16th. Over 400,000 spectators line the canals to welcome him and his crew of helpers. Once on his horse, Sinterklaas continues the parade throughout the city until his arrival in Dam Square, where a musical festival for children begins. Once the musical portion of his trip comes to a close, the parade continues through the city until his last stop in Liedseplein. Once there, Sinterklaas delivers a message from the balcony of the Stadsschouwburg to the onlookers below.

The Traditions of Sinterklaas

Parades and festivities are not the only joy Sinterklaas brings to the Netherlands. Once he is in town, the children lay their shoes out before bedtime hoping a gift will be left in them by the morning. Similar to the tradition of Santa Clause, good children receive treats sinter2while naughty children nervously wait to see if they receive coal. The main gift giving occasion occurs on December 5th, a day named sinterklaasavond (Sinterklaas evening) or pakjesavond (presents evening). Sinterklaas is sure to leave presents on doorsteps before making his way back to Spain. Much like Christmas, the next day is spent opening gifts, singing songs, and ending the day with a feast.

So next time Sinterklaas is in town, leave your shoes out before bed and maybe you too will wake up to a little gift left by the good ole’ Saint Nicholas.

Show Spotlight: Jay Mattioli

Although spring seems but an illusion as we head into these long winter months we have exciting things in store that will surely astound and amaze you! Tulip Time is thrilled to be hosting magician and illusionist Jay Mattioli in the spring of 2015.

Jay delighted audiences on America’s Got Talent and will surely stun audiences with his jaw-dropping magical effects. Creating his effects from the ground up Jay is considered to be a magic innovator by his peers taking time to perfect each element of his show from props and costumes to music and choreography.

This show is sure to bring a fun, exciting and mysterious experience for all ages! Tickets are on sale now and make the perfect family Christmas gift. Visit for show information and ticket details!